Area towns are gearing up for what could be the biggest snowfall of the season.
“For Central Connecticut it will be an all snow event, it could be the biggest snow producer for the season,” WFSB-TV Meteorologist Mark Dixon said. “It could be a blockbuster.”
Towns from Bristol to Newington, including New Britain, Southington, Plainville and Berlin would get between eight and 18 inches of wet, heavy snow, Dixon said. The state’s northwest hills could see upwards of two feet of snow, he added.
Bristol police are encouraging anyone who doesn’t have to go out to stay home and avoid the treacherous conditions that are expected.
“If you have to be out, drive slow and leave extra space between yourself and the person in front of you,” said Bristol police Lt. Richard Guerrera. “Leave earlier than you normally would.”
Motorists who should happen to get stuck in a hazardous situation during the storm can call police, who will help until a tow truck arrives, the lieutenant advised.
“If you’re stuck in a parking lot, there’s not much we can do,” Guerrera said. “But if you’re stuck in the middle of the road and it’s dangerous, you can call us for assistance.”
Guerrera said he anticipates the Public Works Department will issue a parking ban sometime overnight or in the early morning. Parking bans have already been issued in Southington and Plainville.
Bristol Public Works will begin curbside collections at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, and asks that barrels are placed at the curbside by that time. Public Works also asks that barrels be removed promptly after collection to avoid impacting snow removal operations.
The Board of Education, park budget and police budget meetings scheduled for Wednesday night were cancelled because of the storm, said Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu. Those meetings instead took place on Tuesday night, she added.
Meanwhile, other area towns have also made preparations for Wednesday’s storm.
Gabe Calandra, assistant superintendent of the Southington Highway Department, said that crews went out Tuesday afternoon to pre-treat the roads before the storm.
“We went through all of our trucks and performed maintenance and they’re all ready to go,” he said. “We’ll be coming in early morning, waiting for it to build up and then getting to work. We’ve heard that it is supposed to go all day Wednesday and into Thursday morning.”
“We’re all set,” said Mike Widger, roadway foreman in Plainville. “Our trucks are ready, we’ve got plenty of salt and we’re going to be calling up our contractors to make sure that they’re ready. They way it’s looking we’ll probably start at 9 or 10 a.m. and then it will be getting heavier around 1 or 2. We’ll probably be staying out on the roads through the night.”
In addition to a potential for more than a foot of snow, the storm is expected to also deliver gusty winds. Winds will average between 30 and 40 miles per hour – less than Friday’s nor’easter that took out power to thousands – but could create trees and power lines down because of the weight of the snow, according to Dixon.
“It won’t be as bad as last Friday but the ground is saturated because we got one to two inches of rain,” Dixon said. “Trees could more easily topple with the wind. The snow will be wet and heavy and tough to move, shovel and clear.”
The snow will begin lightly Wednesday morning but quickly ramp up by mid-morning and late afternoon, creating a “treacherous” evening commute. At the height of the storm Wednesday afternoon, snow will fall at a rate of one to two inches per hour, Dixon said. “It will pile up quickly,” he added.
While everyone is waiting for the arrival of spring, Dixon said winter may not be done just yet. There is a potential for another storm Monday into Tuesday – but models are showing it going out to sea for now. “I cannot say definitely this is the last storm,” he said.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.