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Milford Emergency Officials Prepare, Advise People to Stay Off Roads Friday

Milford Fire Chief John Touhey said people should be finished with any blizzard preparations by Friday morning. Then, stay inside.

If you are planning to get some emergency supplies for the blizzard, get it done tonight.

John Touhey, Milford's emergency management director and fire chief, said people should be off the roads by early Friday afternoon, when the snow will begin falling in heavy bands. By early evening, blizzard conditions are expected.

What is a blizzard? Winds of 35 mph or more sustained for three hours or more. The blowing snow, even if snowfall is light, will make travel hazardous.

The temperatures are expected to drop to the teens by Friday afternoon, Touhey said, which means the snow will be lighter in weight, but roads will be more difficult to clear because of drifting conditions.

The forecast shared with emergency officials has not changed, he said, and snow fall rates are expected to be 2 to 3 inches an hour at the peak of the storm.

Because of the temperatures, and the snow accumulation, people who will be driving Friday need to pack blankets, water and food items in the car in case they get stuck, he said.

Emergency officials and department heads met twice Thursday in Milford to prepare for the approaching storm, he said.

If necessary, Milford High School could be opened as an emergency shelter, or a warming center. That decision would not be made until later, but the facility is ready, Touhey said.

Because high winds will be a part of the storm, Touhey said that people should treat all downed wires as if they are live, and call the 911 emergency line at police and fire dispatch to report them.

But people should not call 911 to report loss of electrical power. This ties up the emergency lines. Customers should report the outage to the utility, not emergency officials. National Grid has a liaison who will be assigned to Milford, Touhey said, so officials already will know where the outages are in town.

"I don't need to know your power is out," Touhey said.

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