NEW BRITAIN - Frigid temperatures are expected to remain throughout next week with only one day having the possibility of hitting 32 degrees, said Bruce DePrest, chief meteorologist for WFSB-TV.
“The only shot we have to getting close to freezing is Wednesday,” DePrest said. “By the end of next week and into next weekend it’s not looking good.”
DePrest expects the cold weather to remain with New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day seeing wind chills to 5 to 25 below 0. “New Year’s Day there may be a high of 10 degrees,” he said.
Local officials have been dealing with the cold but have seen no major problems as of Friday. Firefighters have responded to a slight uptick in frozen pipes and furnace malfunctions, but nowhere near the numbers they expected to see in this type of weather, said New Britain Fire Marshal Don King who is asking people to pay attention to their pipes.
“Especially vacant buildings that may have just gone into foreclosure and may have slipped through the cracks,” King added. “Also three or six-family buildings where one or two apartments aren’t occupied and for whatever reason may have the heat off, property owners need to pay attention.”
Police have been warning residents about sidewalk shoveling ordinances and officers are on the lookout for those who may be struggling with the cold, New Britain Police Chief James Wardwell said. “We’ve been extra watchful for people out on the street to make sure they get to a warm place,” Wardwell said. Those who need shelter should call 211 to be directed to a warm place to stay overnight.
Residents are also being reminded that they need to clear their sidewalks after every storm, he said. “School will be back in session on Tuesday, people need to get their sidewalks clear so (students) won’t have to walk in the street,” Wardwell said. Officers have not handed out any sidewalk violations but are warning residents that a violation could be coming if a property owner’s sidewalk continues to be snow-covered after receiving a warning.”
DePrest is predicting that a coating to three inches of snow could fall today starting in late morning and continuing through nightfall. The snow will be followed by another brutal dip in temperatures with wind chills well below 0, he said.
New Year’s Eve revelers would do well to heed to warning to dress properly and have their car stocked with blankets and warm clothing, said AAA spokeswoman Amy Parmenter.
Those headed out on New Year’s Eve tend to be dressed up without the thought for remaining warm if a car breaks down in frigid temperatures, she said. She expects that AAA will see record-breaking call volumes in the next few days as the cold weather continues. “Tuesday was high, Wednesday and Thursday were even higher and Friday morning we had more than we’ve had all week,” Parmenter said.
Car batteries take a beating in frigid temperatures and those who have batteries older than three years old are at risk, she said.
“It’s an inconvenience any other time of the year if your car breaks down on the side of the road,” Parmenter said. “In this weather it could be life threatening, especially if you have children or seniors in the car and you have to wait for help. Don’t leave home if your car is not road ready.”
Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or Lbackus@centralctcommunications.com.