December 16, 2013 12:31PM
By Andrew Ragali
At first glance, a snowbank in a Meriden parking lot seems mundane and unexceptional. What sort of entertainment can a measly snowbank offer on a gray Sunday afternoon?
Left to the imagination of four 12-year-old boys, a glistening white snowbank untouched by dirt and salt can provide enough merriment to last an entire afternoon. Cyrus Valentin, Esteban Jimenez, Tremayne Carter and Rayschon Fuentes decided to spend their Sunday afternoon outdoors after the fresh snowfall that began Saturday. The four boys, residents of the Mills Memorial Apartments, took advantage of a large snowbank in the lot at the corner of Mill and State streets.
At first, they took turns using a blue circular sled to speed down the pile, which was about 4 feet high. It was a short hill, but it offered some competition. The boys measured who could slide the farthest. The boys found that by taking snow from the pile and patting it down along the pavement, they could extend their ride. Jimenez made it all the way to a crack in the parking lot about 8 feet from the starting point — the longest trip of the afternoon. The game was cut short when the sled cracked on the pavement as Valentin tried to best his friend. That didn’t stop the fun, though.
“Let’s throw snowballs at each other now,” Carter screamed.
A snowball fight ensued. There was no malice, just laughter as the boys jumped and rolled through the snow. Valentin watched as Carter did a 360-degree spin while leaping into a pile of snow. He copied Carter’s trick.
“It’s mad cold doing that, right?” Carter asked Valentin, who emerged from the pile covered in snow.
Eventually, all four were covered in snow. Fuentes, who gave his gloves to Valentin, eventually found out why making snowballs with your bare hands isn’t the best idea.
“It’s cold, it’s freezing,” Fuentes said, extending his hands. “Feel the coldness, I’m freezing.”
When asked how they warm up after spending the afternoon outside, the boys answered, “go inside and drink hot cocoa,” almost in unison.
But it was just after 1 p.m., and there was plenty of daylight left. Fuente went inside for another pair of gloves, and the snowball fight ensued.
Saturday night’s storm provided the wet snow needed to make a good snowball. According to Gary Lessor, the assistant to the director of meteorological studies at Western Connecticut State University, snow fell “right through midnight” in the state. But early Sunday morning, snowfall changed over to sleet and freezing rain, he said.
Lessor reported 6 inches of snow in Meriden, 7 inches in Wallingford and 5 inches in Southington. According to the state Department of Transportation, the northeastern town of Union had the most snow in the state — over 9 inches.
Cloud cover helped temperatures reach above freezing on Sunday, making for wet roads, but Lessor expected “everything to freeze solid” as temperatures dropped Sunday night. While area roads were relatively safe Saturday night, according to local emergency response workers, black ice was a concern Sunday night.
“We’ve had no problems so far, knock on wood,” Adam Frenette, a dispatcher for the Southington Police Department, said Sunday afternoon. “Hopefully it doesn’t freeze up later.”
There were no weather-related accidents to report Sunday, said Joseph Czentnar, battalion chief for the Wallingford Fire Department. Roads improved quickly Sunday morning, he said, “but I’m sure we’ll end up with some black ice again tonight.”
“We got through it well,” Cheshire Police Lt. Joe Mazzini said. Though black ice was possible Sunday night, he said, the town “usually takes good care of the roads.”
Lessor said the snowstorm that occurred last week, while small, was the state’s first nor’easter.