5:31 p.m. Update:
Eighteen streets in the city are closed right now due to downed power lines and trees. These are: 142 Miller St., Preston Drive, Alexander, Mayflower, New Hanover, 510 Brownstone, 1079 Broad St., Bunker, Lori Ln., Reservoir, Old Colony, 18 Goodspeed, 166 Reynolds, Bunker @ I691, Myrtle, Pasco, Lockwood Ext., According to Mrk Zebora with the city's Parks Department .
4:05 p.m. Update:
City officials are pondering whether to ask residents not to trick-or-treat Monday night due to outages and unsafe roadways.
-- Emergency shelters are opening at 4 p.m. at Lincoln and Edison Middle Schools and the Senior Center. Seniors and those with special needs should head to the Senior Center.
-- Schools are closed Monday, according to Superintendent Mark Benigni.
-- The health department is closed Monday because it has no power, but sanitarians will be out checking restaurants.
Some nuggets from a meeting of emergency officials at the city's Emergency Operations Center:
-- "This is much worse than the hurricane," Emergency Operations Director David Bowen said.
-- Bowen: At its peak Saturday night, Meriden had 235 streets blocked.
-- Bowen: At about 9:30 Saturday night, 30% of residents were without power. Now the city's at 89% without power. It jumped from 30% to 79% in one hour. Basically, 50,000 people without power in the city.
Only a few gas stations in town have power. Residents have been lining up for gas ast working stations, one of which is the BP on West Main Street.
2 p.m. Update:
A tree fell through Josh Fike's garage on Ann Street, and other branches took out a fence and lattice-work next to his house. But Fike said he was just grateful that nothing went through his home or that of his neighbors.
"God must be working on something," he said, surveying the damage in his front yard Sunday morning with his young son. He said he's be clearing a host of branches in the yard and calling the insurance company about the garage, but that wouldn't stop him from taking his sons to two costume parties this afternoon out-of-town.
1:55 p.m. Update:
Some residents who lost power went trekking for their cup of morning Joe Sunday morning.
Locals filtered in and out of the On the Run convenience store on Broad Street, welcomed by an "Open" flag on the door. The power was out, like at nearby Dunkin' Donuts, which stayed closed. However, On the Run owner Mike Abdul was still brewing coffee.
The coffee, he said around 10:30 a.m., had been the item that lured people in since the store opened at 7:30 p.m.
Claire Chino walked into the dark bodega this morning, saying, "I knew I smelled coffee!"
Chino lives down the street and took a break from shoveling to search for coffee. Her electricity went out at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday night, she said, taking her heat with it.
She said she was as excited for the caffeine as for the warm-up.
Other than the outage, her property sustained little damage in the storm; luckily she had moved her car from underneath a large tree that she said fell last night.
Abdul, who has owned the store for a year, came in from his home on the East Side this morning because "there's nothing to do at home" with the power out.
1:28 p.m. update:
The city has announced that three shelters — Lincoln Middle School, Edison Middle School and the Senior Center — will open at 4 p.m. Residents are encouraged to bring pets (along with food), medications, linens and something to occupy children. The shelters will remain open till 8 a.m. Monday.
Also, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has asked President Obama for an emergency declaration to help with cleanup for the state. If granted, the state would be eligible for direct federal assistance as well as reimbursement for 75% of certain emergency protective measures.
The governor also lifted the travel ban for the Wilbur Cross/Merritt Parkways, but advised residents to stay off the roads if possible to let DOT crews clear impacted areas.
12:52 p.m. Update:
Bob Bass, Meriden's director of public works, said his crews are working with Northeast Utilities to clear the way for downed power lines to be restored. There is one CL&P crew in the city, but folks are waiting for crews to come from other states.
There's no ETA for streets to be cleared or lines to be fixed because of the sheer number of spots throughout the city affected. A small stretch of Old Colony Road has three snapped poles.
One possible hazard to watch out for is snow melting on tree limbs and leaves, which causes them to spring back, possibly hitting lines.
Well, how's that for a fall surprise?
As of mid-morning, residents were beginning to come out of their homes and assess what surely is the strangest — and is definitely the largest — early snowfall in the city's history.
Most in the city — 85% of CL&P customers (23,522 in all) — don't have power. And Gov. Malloy said that situation could last for a "prolonged" period.
I'll be walking around and taking pictures, so check back here for updates throughout the day. If you have power, that is. Also, share your Fall Snowstorm '11 pics and videos with us by clicking on the "Submit Your Photos & Videos" button below!