Fairfield County residents woke up to whiteout conditions as the storm began Thursday morning, with the entire county under a Winter Storm Warning.
By 9 a.m., the National Weather Service had issued an alert for Fairfield County that the storm is intensifying. Conditions were reported as cold, very snowy and with gusting winds.
The weather service warned of "an area of heavy snow over Southern Connecticut and Long Island," with the storm moving northwest at 50 mph.
Snow could fall at a rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour.
Frequent wind gusts of 40 to 45 mph are expected with occasional gusts up to 55 mph with this area of heavy snow, the weather service said. The winds will be strong enough to cause downed tree limbs and power lines as well.
The visibilities are less than a quarter of a mile in this area of heavy snow, and travel is not recommended. Strong winds are contributing to the whiteout conditions and causing heavy blowing and drifting of snow.
In fact, Gov. Dannel Malloy and police departments are across Fairfield County were urging residents to stay off the roads due to conditions.
Additional snow accumulations of 4 to 9 inches are expected, with up to a foot possible in some locations.
"In addition, occasional lightning is expected within the heavy snow," the weather service said.
All told, the area will see heavy snowfall throughout the day, with temps in the low to mid-20s. Wind chill values make it feel even colder — between 5 and 10 degrees.
The Winter Storm Warning is in effect until 1 a.m. Friday.
New Haven, Middlesex, and New London Counties are under a Blizzard Warning.
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