The first measurable snow of the season fell quickly and heavily Thursday, leaving commuters and first responders to deal with the mess.

As the storm neared, predictions for snowfall totals ranged from a dusting to 6 inches or more for places farther away from the coast. When the storm arrived, at around 4 p.m., the pace of snowfall was quicker than many anticipated.

Commuters trapped in the ensuing traffic jams and highway gridlocks led to widespread speculation among many. Some claimed the Department of Transportation failed to pretreat critical roads; others pointed at reductions to DOT staffing as the reason for dangerous driving conditions.

DOT spokesman Kevin Nursick disputed these theories, stating that the state stuck to its pretreatment plan targeting problematic locations and supplemented any staff deficiencies with independent contractors.

Instead, the biggest factor in the Thursday night congestions, Nursick contended, was instead the timing of the storm.

“Chief among our (the DOT’s) concerns was the fact that this storm was going to hit during rush hour traffic,” Nursick said. “The timing of day for these winter weather events is the most critical factor of whether the DOT looks like heroes or something else.”

Nursick said the high-density, rush hour traffic was exacerbated by the rapid snowfall, which, in turn, prevented state plows from clearing critical roads and highways.

“All it takes is a spin-out here and a disabled vehicle there, and all of the sudden you have these gridlocks that make the plows jobs that much harder,” Nursick said.

As drivers sat in traffic, the snow built up around them at a rate much greater than what was originally anticipated by meteorologists. In some parts of Connecticut, trained spotters measured snowfalls up to around nine inches.

Towns like Greenwich and Stamford hovered around the 4-inch mark, while further east towns like Darien, Danbury and New Canaan saw totals closer to 6 inches. Further upstate, snowfall totals varied — trained spotters in Waterbury reported around 9.3 inches, while New Haven, North Haven and Hamden reported totals between 4.5 and 6.5 inches.

Snowfall totals

Fairfield County

New Fairfield: 10. 9 inches

Newtown: 8.2 inches

Monroe: 8 inches

Bethel: 8 inches

Danbury: 7.9 inches

Shelton: 7.1 inches

Weston: 7.1 inches

Brookfield: 7 inches

Ridgefield: 7 inches

Old Greenwich: 6.8 inches

Darien: 6.8 inches

Easton: 6.5 inches

New Canaan: 6.4 inches

Norwalk: 6 inches

Stratford: 4.5 inches

Greenwich: 4 inches

Stamford: 3.8 inches

New Haven County

Waterbury: 9.3 inches

Cheshire: 7.7 inches

Wallingford: 7.5 inches

Middlebury: 7.5 inches

Wolcott: 7.5 inches

Woodbridge: 7 inches

Seymour: 6.8 inches

Hamden: 6.5 inches

Branford: 6.5 inches

Guilford: 6.5 inches

Naugatuck: 5 inches

North Haven: 5 inches

New Haven: 4.6 inches

Stony Creek: 4.5 inches

Madison: 4 inches

The snow caused slippery roads, delays and slow-downs on every highway west of Hartford by 6 p.m., with top speeds hovering around 25 mph.

In total, state police responded to 1,341 snow-related calls for service, two of which were accidents with serious injuries. Of those calls, 230 were for accidents, ten of which involved minor injuries.

In Stamford, at peak rush hour, around 5:15 p.m., the Merritt Parkway north was closed between Exits 35 and 36 because of, “many motor vehicle accidents and disabled vehicles,” according to the state Department of Transportation. That closure was still in effect more than an hour later.

Local law enforcement agencies were seeing crashes, including in Norwalk, where police reported an uptick in collisions around 5:30 p.m.

In smaller towns like Wilton, police responded to about 21 disabled vehicles during the duration of the storm. Due to the conditions, some of the vehicles had to be abandoned.

“We are still currently working on removing some of those vehicles from the road,” said police spokesman Capt. Robert Cipolla around 7 a.m.

In Greenwich, the town came to a halt soon after the heavy, wet snow began falling as drivers, struggling to see, slowed to a crawl.

“The downtown area is in complete gridlock,” Greenwich Emergency Management Director Dan Warzoha said, adding the state had failed to pretreat the Post Road, for which it is responsible, making it treacherous to drive on.

“This is the first storm of the season so maybe people didn’t take it seriously enough,” Warzoha said.

Along the coast in Bridgeport, where forecasts called for 1 to 3 inches of snow before a changeover to rain, there were accidents galore.

“As soon as the snow started, we started to get these accidents starting to pop up,” said Scott Appleby, Bridgeport’s director of director of emergency management and homeland security.

By late Thursday night, the snow transitioned into rain later, as predicted by the NWS.

“Temperatures are hovering around freezing or below, so road conditions will be hazardous,” the weather service said.