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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut state employees are being sent home from work early Wednesday ahead of a storm that’s forecast to drop as much as a foot of snow in parts of the state.

Nonessential state workers will be dismissed in staggered phases beginning at noon to reduce the risk for traffic problems as commuters head home from Hartford.

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says the idea is to ensure people are off the roads by rush hour when the snowfall is expected to be at its heaviest.

Nonessential second-shift state employees are being told not to report to work Wednesday evening.