Facing the freezing: Strong wind, snow hit area with few hiccups reported

Published on Thursday, 4 January 2018 21:37
Written by LISA BACKUS


NEW BRITAIN - Overall, area officials reported few problems due to the fierce snowstorm that gripped the Northeast Thursday bringing up to 10 inches of snow to Central Connecticut in a few hours.

New Britain police were out in full force after 12 a.m. Thursday, warning and ticketing residents to get parked cars off the road as the storm ramped up.

By 3 p.m., more than 200 parking ban violation tickets had been issued with 44 cars towed, New Britain Police Chief James Wardwell said.

“We probably had an equal number of people who complied and moved their cars when officers asked,” Wardwell said.

Other than the constant search for park ban violators, the city was quiet with few accidents and few cars on the roads, Wardwell said.

“Traffic has been light,” he said. “A lot of our efforts were put toward the snow ban.”

Schools throughout the state were closed on Thursday, and all area schools are closed today.

New Britain, Bristol, Southington, Plainville, Berlin, Newington and Plymouth officials announced Thursday evening that schools would be closed today.

CTtransit stopped bus service in the New Britain and Bristol area at the height of the storm until further notice. Many businesses in the Central Connecticut area were also closed with C-Town supermarket in downtown New Britain expected to stay open for regular hours. Medical practices and other stores closed for the day.

Bradley International Airport remained open Thursday, but a notice from the airport said that many incoming and outgoing flights have been cancelled. The airport is monitoring the storm and more cancellations are expected.

Mayor Erin Stewart said the city was managing the snow operation as the hours go by, and Public Works had 20 snow plows on city roads.

“We are on full staff right now for our snow operations,” Stewart said at about 11 a.m. on a Facebook live broadcast.

In addition to the plows, Stewart said there are at least a dozen additional vehicles in the city’s fleet.

Police in Berlin and Newington reported few incidents as the storm continued to pile up snow with blustery winds throughout the day.

By 2 p.m. Newington officers had responded to two accidents and seven assists for people who got stuck in the snow. Berlin police dealt with four disabled vehicles and had no accidents, Deputy Chief Christopher Ciuci said.

The storm was upgraded to a blizzard in the southern part of the state with Central Connecticut predicted to receive 12 to 14 inches of snow, according to WFSB-TV. High winds and frigid temperatures will follow, with wind chills falling into the below 0 category until Sunday forecasters said.

The storm took a turn mid-morning aiming at Central Connecticut, leaving expected snowfall totals far above what was initially predicted. About 10 inches of snow had fallen in Berlin by 3 p.m. Other areas of the state including New Haven and the shoreline were getting pounded with snow and high surf, forecasters said.

Fire officials in New Britain reported no major problems during the storm.

Firefighters had responded to numerous frozen and burst pipe calls Wednesday, Fire Marshal Don King said. Officials are concerned that when temperatures rise next week frozen pipes that have not burst yet will cause major damage to homes and businesses, King said.

Firefighters in Newington quickly dealt with an attic fire that displaced a family and their cat. All made it out safely without injuries.

Gov. Dannel Malloy continually asked residents throughout the day to stay off the roads and let state Department of Transportation plows do their work. Around 7 p.m. Thursday, he said all third shift employees state employees were to report to work as scheduled on Thursday, and state offices would open on time today.

An accident on Route 9 at exit 9 briefly shut down the highway Thursday morning. Two jack-knifed tractor trailers in Darien and Greenwich also shut down Interstate 95 in those towns Thursday afternoon.

Eversource officials reported few power outages in the storm, which Malloy had warned could be impossible to fix with high winds expected to gust above 35 miles-per-hour.

Wardwell asked for the continued cooperation of residents in staying off the roads until they were plowed.

“Let public works do their job,” Wardwell said. “That way everyone can travel safely and emergency vehicles can respond to calls.”

Staff writers Skyler Frazer, Charles Paullin, Justin Muszynski, Angie DeRosa and Erica Schmitt contributed to this story.


Posted in New Britain Herald, Newington, Berlin, General News, New Britain, Plainville, Southington Herald on Thursday, 4 January 2018 21:37. Updated: Thursday, 4 January 2018 22:01.