Approaching storm looks rainy, but area is ready for snow

Published on Monday, 28 January 2019 21:10
Written by BRIAN M. JOHNSON

@brianjohnsonBP

More snow and freezing rain is on the way this afternoon into Wednesday morning, though WFSB’s Scot Haney says that the storm likely “won’t be a blockbuster.”

Haney said that that while heavy snow is not expected, there may be enough to cause some problems on the roads, and people in Northwestern Connecticut may still have to shovel.

“Around 3 p.m. we’ll start to see some snow developing in Northwestern Connecticut,” he said. “There will be a mix of snow and rain in Central Connecticut and rain on the shoreline. It will turn over from snow to rain and then back to snow again early Wednesday morning from 1 a.m. to 4 a.m.”

Haney said that one model is predicting 2 to 3 inches of snow in Northwestern Connecticut, 1 to 2 inches in Central Connecticut and “very minimal” amounts on the shoreline. The “European” model was predicting as much as 4 to 5 inches in parts of Northwestern Connecticut.

Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu said the city is still well within its budget for dealing with winter storms.

This year’s budget includes $250,000 for overtime, of which $52,000 has been used. The Jan. 19-20 storm cost approximately $14,000 in overtime.

The budget for salt is $462,000, of which $55,000 has been used so far. Zoppo-Sassu said the city has 4,500 tons stored, and used approximately 360 tons during the previous storm. The city doesn’t use sand.

The budget for outside plow contractors is $305,200, of which $52,000 has been used.

There are two big expenses incurred during winter storms, she said. “The first is when a storm hits - so weekends and holidays versus during the course of the normal operating business day. Then we have overtime and holiday pay costs that we would cover.”

“So then, there is also the magnesium that is part of the salt mixture we put down to pre-treat the roads,” she said. “It is very expensive, yet very highly effective. We went through a lot of it last week because of the nature of the ice storm.”

“Then, obviously, there are some other costs that factor in, including the type of storm it is - ice versus heavy snow versus fluffy snow,” she continued. “And then when we then pull in the contractors to augment the city vehicles. And we always have our fingers crossed that our equipment stays operational and doesn’t go down, because then we have the related repair and down time costs associate with storms as well.”

Police are advising residents to take the necessary precautions when driving, particularly if the storm affects either the evening or morning commute.

“Drive slow, leave early and give yourself extra time to get wherever you’re going,” said Lt. Richard Guerrera.

“Leave extra distance between you and the car in front of you” Guerrera continued, adding that headlights should always be on during winter storms.

Guerrera also said motorists should clear their entire windshield before driving and not just a small area to see in front of their vehicle. Blind spots caused by snow can contribute to motor vehicle accidents.

“If the roads ice up very quickly then it could be a problem,” the lieutenant said.

Plymouth Director of Public Works Charles Weigert said that it doesn’t look as if there will be much snow.

“We will monitor it as it develops and if the roads are slick we will treat them,” he said. “If there’s more snow than expected, we’ll plow the roads if we have to. But it’s looking like it will be mostly rain.”

Mike Widger, roadways foreman in Plainville, said that the town was having salt delivered and having mechanics look over trucks to make sure that they are ready to go if they need to.

“We’re hoping that we’ll just be able to treat the roads,” he said. “From what I’ve heard, we’re maybe looking at an inch and a half of snow.”

Southington Town Manager Mark Sciota said that he met with the Public Works Department Monday morning to discuss storm preparations.

“The snow is looking pretty light; it’s going to all turn to rain,” he said. “We’ll be bringing in our town contractors but we don’t expect to have to bring in third party contractors for this. If there’s less than an inch of snow, we won’t have to plow.”

Susan Corica and Justin Muszynski contributed to this story.

Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or bjohnson@bristolpress.com.



Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington Herald on Monday, 28 January 2019 21:10. Updated: Monday, 28 January 2019 21:12.