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Conn. orders Guard to help clear roads after big snowfall

David Spon used his iPad to take photos on Bank Street in New London, Conn. Many were without power in that area.

DANA JENSEN/THE DAY via Associated Press

David Spon used his iPad to take photos on Bank Street in New London, Conn. Many were without power in that area.

FAIRFIELD, Conn. — ­National Guard troops joined state crews to clear Connecticut roads on Saturday following a massive storm that dumped as much as 3 feet of snow, making travel nearly impossible, even for emergency responders who found themselves stuck on highways.

Governor Dannel P. Malloy said 270 members of the Guard were deployed to assist a storm recovery that he said could take several days. Some people who had been stranded in cars were found suffering from hypothermia, Malloy said.

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A woman in her 80s was killed by a hit-and-run driver Friday night as she was clearing snow in Prospect, the governor said.

The storm shut down airports, led to a travel ban on state roads, and left residents to dig out from piles of snow that completely buried many cars. But compared with other ­recent storms that have battered Connecticut, this storm left fewer power outages, and the shoreline was spared significant flooding.

In the shoreline community of Fairfield, the sounds of snow blowers filled the air in neighborhoods.

Kathy Niznansky, a 65-year-old teacher who was forced out of her home for two months by Hurricane Sandy, said she was thrilled that she was dealing only with snow and not flooding.

‘‘I feel like having a party,’’ Niznansky said. ‘‘I am so, so relieved.’’

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Scott Bauer, whose Fairfield home was destroyed by Sandy, said his family has been toughened up by the experience. As he dug out from several feet of snow in their second rental home, he said he was happy they did not lose power.

‘‘We've already been through the ups-and-down rollercoaster of emotions, with losing our home and the kids moving twice now,’’ he said. ‘‘I think they are hardened by the storm, so they’re definitely a little tougher now and they realize that this really isn’t that bad.’’

Still, the road conditions caused plenty of headaches. First Selectman Michael ­Tetreau of Fairfield said emergency vehicles got stuck in the snow all night. The roads were in such bad shape that police and firefighters could not come in to work, so the overnight shift was staying on duty.

‘‘It’s a real challenge out there,’’ Tetreau said. ‘‘We are asking everyone to stay home and stay safe.’’

Before dawn Saturday, ­Malloy imposed a travel ban for all but emergency and recovery vehicles, and he pleaded for people to stay put. Drivers including state troopers were getting stuck on the state’s highways, said Lieutenant J. Paul Vance of the State Police.

‘‘We’re having difficulty getting around; it’s very slow going,’’ Vance said. ‘‘It’s imperative people stay off the roads.’’

By midday Saturday morning, 38 inches of snow were reported in Milford, 34 inches in New Haven, and 20 inches in Danbury.

At a 7-Eleven store in South Windsor, clerk Nigesh Desai said his only customers Saturday morning were police officers and snowplow drivers, mostly buying coffee. ‘‘There’s nobody on the road,’’ he said.

Bill Tsoronis used a snow blower to carve paths through huge snow drifts in his South Windsor neighborhood.

‘‘I thought we might have 18 or 20 inches, but in some places it’s up to my waist,’’ he said. “It’s more than I expected.”

Still, he said the storm was not much more than a nuisance, since the neighborhood still had power, and he said he might gather with neighbors for cocktails later in the day.

The state’s largest utility, Connecticut Light & Power, reported power failures affecting 38,000 homes and businesses, representing 3 percent of its customers. Hardest hit were communities in southeastern Connecticut such as North Stonington, where 74 percent of customers were without power.

United Illuminating, which serves customers in southwestern Connecticut, said power failures affected fewer than 200 customers Saturday morning. Its crews restored power to 1,900 customers overnight.

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