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Slippery situation expected Thursday

BRIDGEPORT -- Snow and freezing rain pummeled southwestern Connecticut for much of Wednesday, leading to school closures, throwing trains off schedule and forcing workers to stay home and shovel out.

Problems caused by the storm were expected to continue.

An icy forecast caused many area schools to announce delayed openings for Thursday, and slippery roads threaten to make the morning commute a slippery mess.

The National Weather Service office in New York said late Wednesday afternoon that more freezing rain could continue through the night, and that patches of black ice could develop by the time drivers hit the highways Thursday morning.

The weather service said that towns in southwestern Connecticut had received 6 to 10 inches of snow. The highest total reported by the weather service's regional office was in Trumbull, which reportedly received 10.5 inches.

Most area schools are expected to be in session, but they'll open later than usual. Officials from both Bridgeport and Oxford public schools said their districts would open after a two-hour delay Thursday. Shelton public and parochial schools announced that they would open after a 90-minute delay, with no a.m. kindergarten or pre-kindergarten classes.

Other closings and delays can be found online at ctpost.com/closings.

Metro-North Railroad said it expects to run normal service on Thursday. But with morning temperatures expected to be around 24 degrees along the shoreline, the trains might be running trains at reduced speeds, as they sometimes does on cold days.

The railroad issued cautionary statement in an update to its riders Wednesday night:

"Most of Metro-North's service territory is under a foot of snow and overnight temperatures are expected to be in the single digits. Because of the continued extreme winter weather, the railroad may experience weather-related problems."

Heavy snowfall early Wednesday forced schools to close and prompted some employers to close or allow people to work from home.

Those who could dig out during the day ended up sinking their shovels and plows into wet, heavy snow with a crunchy top layer. Ice accumulations, however, weren't as severe as expected, with Connecticut only seeing a few hundredths of an inch glaze on Wednesday.

That might have helped the region's utilities avoid widespread outages during the storm. By mid-morning, United Illuminating reported a few dozen outages in its service area, and electricity was restored by afternoon. Connecticut Light and Power reported higher outage numbers, with more the 300 customers losing electricity for a time in Greenwich.

As most of the region started digging out late Wednesday morning, the Bridgeport Rescue Mission put out a "code blue" plea for donations. Read Full Article 

The group said in an email that one of its mobile kitchen vans had broken down, forcing use of a cargo van to transport meals to hungry people in Bridgeport and South Norwalk.

"But the van isn't equipped for this purpose, and meals are cold by the time they're served," said the group's executive director, the Rev. Terry Wilcox. "We need another good, used food truck, specifically outfitted for this vital program."

Digital Editor Jim Shay and staff writer Frank Juliano contributed to this report.