NEW BRITAIN – With many area schools closed and snow cleanup still underway in municipalities, Connecticut is in for a cold weekend as temperatures drop.
While precipitation is over for now, the National Weather Service predicts a high of 9-degrees and a low of -7-degrees on Saturday with wind gusts as high as 30 mph during the day. On Sunday, temperatures will fluctuate between a high of 15-degrees and a low of 11-degrees, the NWS predicts.
During much of the snow cleanup on Friday, the weather teetered between single and double digit temperatures. Including wind chill, temperatures in parts of the state hovered around zero-degrees. Monse Garcia stopped in the New Britain Public Library on Friday to keep warm.
“I had a few errands to do downtown so I figured I’d stop here during my walk to reheat,” Garcia said while holding a cup of coffee, courtesy the library.
The public library is one of the places residents can go to keep warm in the winter months. Patricia Rutkowski, director of the library, said she’s seen less people utilize the facility as a warming center recently.
“I have to say, I think that New Britain has been very successful with the work for the homeless because if we compare to how many people we’ve seen in previous years, it’s really lowered,” Rutkowski said. “In November we saw a lot more faces than we’re seeing now, so we’re hoping that they’ve found shelter or they’ve found an apartment.”
Still, this is another example of why libraries are important to their communities, Rutkowski said.
“A library is a gathering place – there are a variety of different hats that we wear. For some, it is basically just a warm place or a cool place in the summertime,” Rutkowski said. “Our doors are open to everybody: it doesn’t matter how old you are, what your political affiliation is, what you earn or where you work. Our doors are open to everybody.”
The library is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
New Britain’s parking ban was lifted Friday morning, but not before more than 250 parking ban violation tickets were issued. More than 65 cars were towed. There were few accidents or stranded motorists during the storm, which spanned about 12 hours and left about a foot of snow on the ground.
“A lot of people stayed off the roads and a lot of businesses stayed closed, that helped a lot,” Police Chief James Wardwell said on Friday.
In anticipation of more cold weather, Gov. Dannel Malloy extended the state’s Severe Cold Weather protocol through Monday, Jan. 8. According to officials, the protocol directs staff from the state’s Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Department of Housing to coordinate with 2-1-1 and Connecticut’s network of shelters to ensure that the state’s most vulnerable populations are protected from the severe cold weather.
“As we continue through this extended period of bitter cold temperatures, we must take precautions and ensure that services are available to protect the most vulnerable populations,” Malloy said. “Shelters and warming centers remain open throughout the state and can be located by calling 2-1-1 or visiting www.211ct.org . We also encourage folks to check in on seniors and neighbors in need to ensure they are safe and warm.”
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Skyler Frazer on Twitter @SFrazerNBH