BRISTOL - State and local officials are preparing for the worst today, with a winter storm that could bring 20 inches of snow to much of Connecticut.
“This is going to be a long-duration storm,” said Mayor Ken Cockayne. “Stay home if you can and let Public Works clear the roads.”
Cockayne said the city will be fully staffed for plow drivers and will also use third-party contractors.
“If we get what they’re saying, this could take a full week to clean everything up,” he said.
Cockayne had a meeting Monday afternoon with police, firefighters, the Public Works Department and other local agencies to make sure everyone is on the same page. The city will not be opening its Emergency Operation Center - where multiple agencies operate out of one room in the police department in the event of weather-related emergencies or natural disasters.
“We seem to have the situation in hand,” said Harland Graime, emergency management director for Bristol.
According to the National Weather Service, the Bristol area could get as many as 20 inches of snow. Other reports call for more. The day will likely be blustery with winds anywhere from 21 to 26 mph and gusts of up to 39 mph, causing near whiteout conditions at times, the National Weather Service said. The snow will likely end late Tuesday or early Wednesday.
Bristol Public Works Director Walt Veselka said his department spent Monday getting all its trucks and equipment ready for the storm.
The department’s staff will be working overtime to handle things, possibly going into Wednesday morning, he said. “I’m bringing in my crew early Tuesday morning and, depending on how long the storm goes, we’ll be working after hours to make sure that the city is safe.”
On the whole it has been “a pretty average winter,” Veselka continued. “We’re probably coming close to using up our snow budget by the end of this storm.”
Bristol Public Works will delay all curbside collections (rubbish and recycling) by one day from Tuesday through Friday. Making this change will allow residents time to clear snow and avoid having collection barrels in the path of snow plows clearing the roads, according to a statement from Public Works.
Bristol Hospital Spokesman Chris Boyle said a number of the hospital’s outpatient centers will be closed on Tuesday because of the forecasted conditions. He encouraged anyone who was planning an appointment to check bristolhospital.org for the latest closing information.
Bristol Hospital and its Emergency Department, Boyle said, is fully prepared for whatever Tuesday may bring. Sleeping arrangements have been made for staff members who could run into transportation issues.
“Our staff is very dedicated to our patients,” Boyle said.
Towns of Bristol, Plainville and Southington have issued parking bans that will take effect during the early morning hours Tuesday. Southington’s ban will last until 6 a.m. Thursday, while those in Bristol and Plainville will remain in effect until further notice.
Plainville’s Superintendent of Roadways Dominick Moschini said that, although it is “highly unusual” to have a daytime storm in March, Plainville will be prepared.
“We have trucks with salt that are scheduled to go out at 5 a.m. Tuesday and then it will be a matter of seeing what Mother Nature throws at us,” Moschini said. “Once it gets to two inches or more we will be out there with 16 contractors driving eight plow trucks and we won’t stop until it is over.”
Officials in Southington also said they made all the necessary preparations ahead of the storm.
Gabe Calandra, assistant superintendent of the Southington Highway Department, said that the town wrapped up pre-treating the roads around 2 p.m. Monday.
“We have a treated salt mix - a thick type of material that sticks to the road like molasses,” Calandra said. “Car tires grind it in and it gives us a couple of hours as snow builds up. It will be almost impossible to keep up with the amount of snow coming in tomorrow.”
Statewide, there was a report early Monday indicating Gov. Dannel Malloy had issued a travel ban in Connecticut, but the governor’s office later confirmed this was not the case. Malloy then later confirmed Monday afternoon a travel ban would be in effect starting 5 a.m. on Tuesday, as the state would also be in a state of emergency.
According to the Connecticut Department of Transportation, the state will have 634 plow trucks and 250 private contract plow operators on standby to be called in if necessary. DOT workers spent Monday pre-treating roads throughout the state.
Staff writers Brian M. Johnson and Susan Corica contributed to this article.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.