Christine Stuart photo
Connecticut may be accustomed to winter storms that bring between a few inches of snow, but not every winter storm comes with arctic temperatures.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the state is capable of handling six to 10 inches of snow with its 632 snow plows and another 200 contractors, but it has not often seen temperatures in the single digits.

“It was 2004 that we last had zero-degree temperatures,” Malloy said Thursday evening at the Emergency Operations Center. “People are not used to this cold.”

He encouraged those who might not have a warm place to go to call 211 to find a shelter. For homeowners, Malloy said the state has compiled a list of tips for making sure your home is safe in extreme cold.

He said he encourages everyone to know where their water shut-off valve is in case pipes freeze and water needs to be shut off.

Malloy, who has been through this drill several times in the past, dismissed state employees starting at 3 p.m. Thursday. The release of the roughly 45,000 state employees was staggered and Malloy said he asked private companies to consider doing the same.

The worst of the snow is expected to fall at about an inch an hour between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.

All non-essential state employees don’t have to report to work Friday until 9:30 a.m.

Malloy said the delayed open of state government will give plow drivers a chance to clear the roads. The University of Connecticut already canceled Friday classes on all of its campuses and rescheduled them for Saturday at the same time and location.

Metro-North and Amtrak are expected to be running lighter schedules and as long as city streets are clear CT Transit buses will continue to run, Malloy said during a 5 p.m. briefing.

Malloy said he’s more concerned about the low temperatures than he is about the snow and the wind that will come with the storm.

“We get very nervous about winds that are more than 40 miles per hour,” Malloy said. “Right now, we’re thinking these are about 35 miles per hour.”

However, Malloy warned that if the wind does go up to 40 miles per hour, electricity outages could be a problem. He said Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating have their crews ready and available.

“This is a regular New England storm, but it’s going to be particularly cold over the next 48 hours,” Malloy said.