Jul 30, 2014

Darien Weather Update: New Haven Line Service Restored [UPDATE]

Here's the latest news and information on the effect of the early-February storm many are calling "Nemo" on Darien.

If your business or organization office is closed or openng at a different hour today due to the storm, feel free to email Darien@patch.com to get the scheduling announced here, or leave a comment at the bottom of this article and we'll post the information prominently here.


Update 10:51 a.m.:

Just in time to miss the morning commute, Metro-North just tweeted (10 minutes ago): "New Haven Line Service is now operating on or close to schedule. We apologize for any inconvenience."

Update 6:57 a.m.:

Gov. Dannel Malloy has directed non-essential state employees to stay home this morning, all state courts and court offices are closed for the day and the University of Connecticut campus in Stamford as well as Norwalk Community College are closed for the day because of the dangerous commute and limited train and bus service. Darien Public Schools are on a 90-minute delay.

Update 6:51 a.m.:

The National Weather Service has issued a "Freezing Rain Advisory" for the New York metropolitan area and southern Connecticut, warning of slippery driving conditions for this morning's commute:

"Freezing rain, possibly mixed with snow and sleet, will make travel hazardous this morning," the weather service said in the 5:16 a.m. statement. "Untreated roads will become slick and icy. Conditions should improve by late morning as temperatures rise above freezing."

Here's the latest weather forecast for Darien (updated at 5:24 a.m.) from the National Weather Service.

  • Monday: Rain and snow, becoming all rain after 9 a.m. Patchy fog after noon. High near 47. Southeast wind 8 to 13 mph becoming southwest in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 100 percent. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
  • Monday night: A chance of rain, mainly before 9 p.m. Patchy fog before 9 p.m. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low around 34. West wind 8 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30 percent.
  • Tuesday: Partly sunny, with a high near 47. Breezy, with a west wind 15 to 21 mph.

Update 11:02 p.m.:

Connecticut Transit bus service is being restored in Stamford, although some lines may not be running. The service's website posted the following announcement:

On Monday, February 11, CTTRANSIT local and express service routes in the Hartford, New Haven and Stamford Divisions that are able to operate safely will commence service for their regularly scheduled trips. [...]

However, as the municipalities we serve continue with snow removal operations, and with many roads still considerably narrowed or closed due to accumulated snow there are routes that may not be able to operate in part or for the entire route.

Customers are encouraged to use common sense and evaluate whether road conditions likely allow for bus traffic, and should plan to find routes running on well-cleared roadways. Customers should anticipate likely delays or detours, and plan their travel accordingly.

CTTRANSIT will post to the best of our ability lists of detours, known delays, or routes that are not operating.

Update 10:46 p.m.:

What a difference an evening makes.

Less misery appears to be in store for Monday, with some Metro-North train service on the New Haven Line and New Canaan and Danbury branches and even bus service on the Waterbury Branch.

Also, a 90-minute delay for Darien Public Schools likely means buses will be on safer roads, after many (not all) commuters are off of them.

And the weather—is that looking better, too?

No, it's still expected to rage on. Here's the most recent National Weather Service forecast for Darien (8:50 p.m. update):

  • Overnight: "A chance of rain and sleet after 3 a.m. Increasing clouds, with a temperature rising to around 32 by 4 a.m. Southeast wind around 6 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30 percent."
  • Monday: "Rain and snow, becoming all rain after 9 a.m. Patchy fog. High near 45. South wind 8 to 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100 percent. Little or no snow accumulation expected."
  • Monday night: "A chance of rain before 9 p.m. Patchy fog before 9 p.m. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low around 33. West wind 8 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30 percent."
  • Tuesday: "Mostly sunny, with a high near 44. Breezy, with a west wind 15 to 23 mph."

Update 4:11 p.m. Sunday:

Sick of the weather? Oh, you aren't nearly done with it yet—or, rather, it isn't nearly done with you. Were you thinking of driving since you can't use the train out of Darien Monday morning? Meet your Monday precipitation, all ready for the commute (courtesy of the National Weather Service's Darien-specific forecast updated at 4:00 p.m.):

  • Sunday night: "A chance of rain and sleet after 3am. Increasing clouds, with a low around 29. South wind 3 to 6 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30 percent."
  • Monday: "Rain and snow, becoming all rain after 9 a.m. Patchy fog. High near 45. South wind 8 to 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100 percent. Little or no snow accumulation expected"
  • Monday night: "A chance of rain before 9 p.m. Patchy fog before 9 p.m. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low around 33. West wind 8 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30 percent."
  • Tuesday: "Mostly sunny, with a high near 44. Breezy, with a west wind 15 to 23 mph."

This forecast comes with a side dish of "Freezing Rain Advisory" for the New York metropolitan area and southern Connecticut (issued at 3:34 p.m.):

"Impacts: Freezing rain, possibly mixed with snow and sleet, will make travel hazardous late tonight [Sunday night] through Monday morning. Untreated roads will become slick and icy. Conditions should improve late Monday morning as temperatures rise and the wintry mix changes to plain rain. [...]

"A 'Freezing Rain Advisory' means that periods of freezing rain or freezing drizzle will cause travel difficulties. Be prepared for slippery roads. Slow down and use caution while driving."

Update 8:09 p.m., Saturday:

Darien's Jim Cameron, head of the Connecticut Commuter Council, had this to say in a recent email about the lack of New Haven Line trains east of Stamford:

Monday's commute is going to be a living hell.

Because there will be no train service between New Haven and Stamford all of those usual riders will try to catch the train at Stamford where there is obviously not enough parking

A better solution would be to drive south past Stamford and into Westchester County, even over to White Plains which has a large parking lot. By tariff New Haven line tickets are honored both on the New Haven line in Westchester and on the Harlem line, but not on the Hudson division.

I would hope that CDOT is working with the city of Stamford to deal with the massive number of drivers who will be trying to get to that station Monday morning. That parking lot is always full after about 7 AM, and with Malloy's suggestion Saturday evening that people who need to be in New York City on Monday get there on Sunday, the lot will obviously be full.

Update 1:39 p.m.:

The Darien Community Association's Brazilian Carnival fundraising event has been postponed from tonight to 6 p.m. Sunday, the DCA  has announced.

Update 1:16 p.m.:

EspressoNEAT is closed today, the coffee shop announced on Twitter.

Update 1:03 p.m.:

The Darien Youth Lacrosse Association has announced on its website that Sunday's orientation session has been postponed:

"DYLA Orientation scheduled for Sunday, February 10th has been postponed due to the snow.  Given the road closures, the crews cannot get to the high school to clear it out in time for our event.  Sorry for the inconvenience.  We will let you know when we have the rescheduled date."

Update 12:23 p.m.:

The Darien YMCA, which on Friday had expected to open around midday, has announced it will remain closed for Saturday.

Update 11:39 a.m.:

First Selectman Jayme Stevenson made this announcement, emailed at 11:34 a.m.:

Darien received between 12-19" of snow—hard to be specific due to drifting. A good reminded that we live in New England!

Darien has weathered Storm Nemo very well. No power outages yet but the wind is strong so we are monitoring. No trees down, no blocked roads. All primary and secondary roads have been opened. No medical emergencies or fires.

This morning, the Governor extended his travel ban to include ALL roads, not just limited access roads. This is to help insure public safety and to allow road crews to do their work with limited challenge.

Snow clearing efforts will continue throughout the day and into tomorrow. As with any significant snow event, snow will need to be removed from parking lots and moved to large open spaces like the transfer station and Pear Tree Beach parking lot. Contractors will be brought in to assist with this effort.

We continue to clear and salt train platforms in anticipation of Metro North resuming service as soon as they are able. Bus service is suspended today as well.

While snow has tapered off, moderate winds will continue and temperatures will be falling throughout the night which is of concern for road safety and for those who are vulnerable to the cold. Marc McEwan, Olive Hauser and I are closely monitoring this. There has been no call to open a shelter and we don't anticipate doing so unless we have power outages.

I want to acknowledge the hard work of our DPW, Police, Fire and EMS. Darien is far better shape than many of our peer towns due, in large part, to their diligence.

Update 10:42 a.m.:

UCBC Bakery in downtown Darien is open today. House of Needlepoint is closed today and will reopen Monday at 10 a.m.

Update 5:35 p.m.:

The state has announced in a Twitter tweet: "Governor Malloy has ordered all roads in Connecticut closed until further notice."

Update 5:17 a.m.:

According to the Connecticut Light & Power outage map, as of 5:03 a.m., no Darien customers were without power. (That was the case throughout Fairfield County, except for one customer in Stamford and one in Greenwich.

Update 5:12 a.m.:

The National Weather Service, in a 3:58 a.m. update, to its "Blizzard Warning," says blizzard conditions are expected to remain intense early in the morning, before daybreak:

"The strongest winds and heaviest snow will occur through daybreak. [...] Travel is not recommended this morning, as many roads are impassable, with numerous reports of closed roads and stranded cars. Heavy snow and winds will make for dangerous driving conditions, with visibilities near zero in white-out conditions. In addition, some trees and power lines will be downed, causing power outages.

"A 'Blizzard Warning' means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring," the weather service's  report continued. "Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibilities are likely. This will lead to whiteout conditions, making travel extremely dangerous. Do not travel.

"If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle."

Update 4:56 a.m., Saturday:

First Selectman Jayme Stevenson issued this statement at 7:58 p.m. Friday:

"Nothing of note to report at this time.  Snow and wind are moderate.  No power outages so far.  DPW crews continue to clear roads.  Very light traffic which helps with road clearing.  We are watching the forecast closely particularly for winds and coastal flooding at high tide."

Here's the word-for-word 4:31 a.m., Darien-specific forecast from the National Weather Service:

  • Saturday: Snow likely, mainly before 9 a.m. Cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 32. Windy, with a northwest wind 23 to 26 mph, with gusts as high as 38 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent. Total daytime snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
  • Saturday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 12. Wind chill values as low as -3. Blustery, with a northwest wind 14 to 20 mph.
  • Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 35. Wind chill values as low as -3. Northwest wind 6 to 11 mph becoming west in the afternoon.
  • Sunday night: A chance of rain after midnight. Increasing clouds, with a low around 28. Southwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm. Chance of precipitation is 30 percent.
  • Monday: Rain likely, mainly before noon. Cloudy, with a high near 44. Southeast wind 7 to 11 mph becoming southwest in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.
  • Monday night: A slight chance of rain. Cloudy, with a low around 35. Chance of precipitation is 20 percent.

Update 5:14 p.m., Friday:

A reliable Patch reader tells us:

"The Middlesex Club's Member-Guest Paddle Tennis Tournament scheduled for Saturday has been postponed due to the storm. It is expected that the tournament will now take place in March."

Update 3:32 p.m.:

The Connecticut Department of Transportation has announced that CT Transit  bus service will shut down at 4 p.m. today, according to a message passed on by First Selectman Jayme Stevenson:

CT DOT is going to begin shutting down bus service at 4pm.  That would be for all 8 divisions of CT TRANSIT.  That will mean all buses should be off the roads by 6:00 pm. 

Expresses will still be scheduled for a 3:30 trip but won’t run if there are no passengers

There are still some ADA para-transit trips until 6:00 pm, so as long as those can safely be done, they will keep that service running.

Update 2:03 p.m.:

The Melting Pot restaurant will be closed until 5 p.m. Saturday when it reopens for dinner. Management posted this announcement on the restaurant's Facebook page:

"The Melting Pot of Darien will be closed this evening due to the inclement weather! Stay safe everyone and please avoid driving on the roads in these snowy conditions. Fondue-ly yours, Brynn and Will"

Update 1:55 p.m.:

First Selectman Jayme Stevenson sent out this message to the town at about 12:54 p.m.:

To all-  

Marc McEwan and I have been briefed by both the State Emergency Operations Center and Governor Malloy on the status of Storm Nemo. 

The good news is that coastal flooding predictions have been reduced to 1 to 3 feet above normal high tide—the more challenging news is that snow accumulation totals are for 16 to 24 inches of snow with winds gusting to 40 mph, which will cause significant drifting.  Peak snow fall will occur between 6 pm and 6am with blizzard conditions expected through 8 a.m. Saturday.    

Our DPW staff is already at work and prepared for a sustained snow clearing response.  It is important to note that with accumulations of this magnitude and the rate at which the snow is predicted to fall, the priority for snow clearing is main roads.  Secondary roads may take longer to clear.   

At 11 a.m. we have partially activated our Emergency Operations Center.  It is anticipated that Gov. Malloy will be declaring a State of Emergency and issuing a travel ban shortly.  Service suspension for AMTRAK, CT Transit and surrounding airports should be anticipated. 

I will keep you posted on that. Loss of power will be a consideration as the winds increase.  CL&P is staging crews at their district work centers for quicker response, if needed.  Our town liaison and I have been in regular contact since yesterday.   

We have no plans at this time to open a shelter and encourage people to shelter-in-place.  As always, we continue to monitor the need for a shelter and will be prepared to do so as circumstances change.  

I will continue to provide updates as the storm progresses.   

Update 12:39 p.m.:

Whole Foods Market in Darien has announced on Twitter that it will close at 4 p.m.

Update 12:32 p.m.:

First Selectman Jayme Stevenson at 12:25 p.m. sent an email to Town Hall employees telling them that "effective immediately" Town Hall was closing.

Update 11:08 a.m.:

From announcements on Twitter: Espresso Neat coffee shop in Darien closes at 1 p.m., all Equinox locations, including the one in Noroton Heights, are open today and through the weekend.

Update 11:00 a.m.:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests: "If you're driving today, fill your gas tank, have your emergency kit, & have a shovel & salt/sand in your car."

Update 10:52 a.m.:

The state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection has told town officials around the state that "Moderate power outages and moderate coastal flooding [is] expected with high tide just before midnight in Western Long Island Sound."

For this evening and overnight, snowfall could be as much as 15 to 30 inches is along the coast, according to the department. Blizzard conditions tonight could include snowfall of as much as 5 inches an hour, zero visibility at times and drifting snow. Winds along the coast could reach 60 mph.

Update 10:37 a.m.:

The National Weather Service has issued a Coastal Flood Warning for the Long Island Sound shoreline starting at 6 p.m. tonight.

The NWS describes its warnings this way: "A Coastal Flood Warning means that flooding is expected or occurring. Coastal residents in the warned area should be alert for rising water and take appropriate action to protect life and property."

"Tidal departures 3 to 5 feet above astronomical tides this evening, 2 to 4 feet above astronomical tides Saturday morning," the weather service said in the statement. This will be accompanied by waves three to five feet above normal in the sound. High tide is 7 to 11 p.m. this evening and 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday morning.

"Widespread flooding of vulnerable shore roads and/or basements due to height of storm tide and wave action is possible," the weather service said. "Numerous road closures may be needed. Lives may be at risk for people who put themselves in harms way."

Update 10:15 a.m.:

Darien Library has announced it will close at 2 p.m. today.

Update 9:23 a.m.:

Person-to-Person has announced: "UPDATE: Due to weather conditions, P2P is CLOSED today, Friday 2/8, and tomorrow, Saturday 2/9. Sorry for the inconvenience. Stay safe!"

Update 9:16 a.m.:

Darien Library has announced on its website:

"Due to the impending snow storm, the Library will be closed Saturday.

"The Library will close early today.  We will decide at 10AM whether to keep the library open until 12PM or 2PM.  Check back here for updates or follow us on twitter."

Update 9:10 a.m.:

The Darien YMCA has announced:

"YMCA is closing at 11 AM today. We hope to open at 12 Noon on Saturday. Please look for updated information. You can also call the YMCA at (203) 655-8228 for more up to date information."

Update 9:01 a.m.:

Darien Department of Public Works crews so far have their regular storm task: salting the roads, said First Selectman Jayme Stevenson.

"We're on what I would call 'monitoring mode,'" Stevenson said in an interview this morning. "It's a pretty routine response."

Town officials from around the state will be on a morning briefing call with Gov. Dannel Malloy this morning, and there's also a call with town officials from Connecticut emergency management officials, she said.

The town's emergency operations committee hasn't needed to be started up, at least not yet, Stevenson said.

Update 8:39 a.m.:

Call the Darien Library and this is what you hear on the recording: "Welcome to the Darien Library. We are open until further notice." (Normal opening hours for the library are 9 a.m.)

However, the showing of the film "Searching for Sugarman" has been postponed until March 1.

Update 8:33 a.m.:

The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk is closed for the day, and IMAX showings of "Skyfall" are cancelled for Friday night, the aquarium announced on Twitter. The aquarium still hopes to show the movie on Saturday.

Update 8:29 a.m.:

The Darien YMCA has announced on its Facebook page: "The YMCA is open. Due to Darien Public School cancellation, we will not have Holly Pond Nursery School. All Youth Programs will be cancelled this morning. All adult fitness classes are on a regular schedule. Please check back later for all updates on afternoon programs."

Update 8:05 a.m.:

The Darien Community Association is closed for Friday, according to DCA Communications Manager Heather Pommerelle, but, she wrote, "Still expect to be dancing the night away tomorrow at our Brasiian Carnival!"

Update 6:34 a.m., Friday, Feb. 8:

Darien Public Schools will be be closed on Friday due to the impending storm, according to its Web site.

Update 11:09 p.m.:

The University of Connecticut announced on its Facebook page that all classes for Friday are canceled.

Update 10:21 p.m.:

Nicholas Roberts Fine Wines announced on its Facebook page that it has cancelled its regular Friday "Wine Down" wine sampling event:

PSA: We're gonna play things safe this weekend and cancel our regular Friday Night Wine Down. Also, we'll post any special store hours.

Update 9:50 p.m.:

Venture Yoga has announced on its Facebook page that classes are still on for Friday morning, but Friday night and Saturday classes are closed:

Tomorrow morning...classes on!
8:30 & 9:45am HOT Vinyasa w/Kendra
9:45am Vinyasa w/Lindsay
6:15 Cancelled

All classes on Saturday are cancelled!!!

Stay safe and warm!! We will see you at 8:15am Sunday morning!!!

Update 9:38 p.m.:

Elements Yoga & Wellness Center has announced on it's Facebook Page:

"Please note that we will post schedule updates on our web site on the HOME PAGE. [see upper right-hand corner of the Web page] We are hoping not to cancel classes but the way the forecast looks now - we may need to on Saturday morning.  Please check in with us before driving to class.


[but your session with a shovel is definitely still on, Darien ...]

Update 9:15 p.m.:

Flair Fitness announces on its Facebook page:

"Neither SNOW, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night....
Will prevent Flair Instructors Martha and Jo
from their appointed classes!!!

Update 9:03 p.m.:

The Darien YMCA fundraiser with renowned gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi and other events with Karolyi in Darien have been postponed to an undetermined date, according to a Darien Y announcement, which reads in part:

Due to the winter storm that is forecasted for tomorrow, we have been forced to postpone the Bela Karolyi events that were scheduled.  The weather has complicated Bela's travel arrangements and both the afternoon event and the evening event will not be taking place.   Bela's visit will be rescheduled for a later date to be announced soon.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that this cancellation has caused. 

For those of you who were attending the afternoon or evening event, we are truly grateful for your support and look forward to seeing you when Bela arrives in the next month or so. 

If you have generously placed a bid in the auction, we will be holding on to the bid sheets and will redisplay the items at Bela's future visit.  Thank you for your support of this event.


Update 8:26 p.m.:

The Darien Democratic Town Committee has announced:

"Due to the impending snow storm, the Darien DTC's speaker series event
about gun violence in America has been POSTPONED."

"The event was set to take place on Saturday, February 9th at the
Darien Library at 11am. It will be RESCHEDULED for a later date this

8:24 p.m.:

Superintendent of Schools Stephen V. Falcone has issued the following statement (boldface is here added to the statement):

Dear Parents and Community Members,

In light of the impending storm, I want to share the following information:

  • The Professional Learning Community (PLC) Program for teachers at Darien High School has been postponed.  Originally, students were to arrive at school on a 90-minute.  For tomorrow, February 8th, DHS students should plan to arrive at the regularly scheduled time.
  • There is the potential that we might have a school cancellation or an early dismissal tomorrow.  We have a “Morning” Early Dismissal schedule and an “Afternoon” Early Dismissal Schedule.  The schedules are:


Morning Early Dismissal

  • High School & Middlesex  - 10:30 a.m.
  • Hindley, Royle, Tokeneke – 11:00 a.m.
  • Holmes, Ox Ridge – 11:30 a.m.


Afternoon Early Dismissal

  • High School - 12:20 a.m.
  • Middlesex – 12:30 a.m.
  • Hindley, Royle, Tokeneke – 1:00 a.m.
  • Holmes, Ox Ridge – 1:30 a.m.

We will assess the situation and is our intention to make a decision by 5:30 a.m. tomorrow morning.  If you would like additional information, you can click on the “General” tab on the district website and find “Emergency Weather-Related Information”. 

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