December 18, 2013 01:15AM
By Jeff Gebeau
Emergency services in Meriden, Wallingford, Southington, and Cheshire spent Tuesday responding to numerous motor vehicle accidents, as the snowstorm that hit the region created perilous commuting conditions.
Snow began falling intermittently at about 7:30 a.m. and became steadier and heavier in the afternoon, as the storm strengthened off the New Jersey coastline, said meteorologist Gary Lessor of Western Connecticut State University’s Weather Center.
By 9:03 a.m., state police reported on their Twitter feed that there were 28 accidents to which they were responding, including three involving injuries. Neither Hartford’s Troop H nor Bethany’s Troop I of the state police could quantify the number of collisions to which they responded.
“There are accidents everywhere,” said a spokesperson from Troop H, in describing the condition of the roads at about 6 p.m., while a Troop I spokesperson said that their units had been busy all day responding to “at least a dozen spin-outs and a dozen accidents.”
Meriden police reported six car crashes downtown— three on Broad Street, and one each at the intersections of North Colony Road and Hicks Avenue, Hanover Street and Cook Avenue, and Lewis Avenue and North Spring Street . Two of the motor vehicle accidents involved injuries.
Battalion Chief Jim Duffy of the Wallingford Fire Department said units had been “going to (motor vehicle accidents) all day,” as well as responding to a series of slips and falls. Ambulance response times were delayed due to the weather and an overload of calls, he said.
Duffy said ambulance services in Wallingford, Meriden, North Haven, and New Haven typically assist one another when needed, but the volume of calls Tuesday had stretched all of the towns’ resources thin.
“We’ll get through it,” Duffy said. “This isn’t the first time we’ve had a storm in Wallingford.”
Southington and Cheshire police both reported multiple “fender benders,” but said the accidents were not serious in nature. “People are slipping off the road and sliding into each other,” said Lt. Tim Rogers of the Cheshire police.
The Southington Fire Department responded to a single vehicle accident on Interstate 84 East at just after 5 p.m., between exits 32 and 33, Lt. James Paul said.
Two people were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries as a result of the crash.
Lessor said road conditions will improve after the departure of the snow, which accumulated three to four inches in the region Tuesday.
“The good news is that winter’s over — at least for a little while,” he said. Following Tuesday’s high temperature of 16 degrees, the rest of the week and weekend will become progressively warmer, with temperatures peaking in the lower and upper 30s on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, the mid- and high-40s on Friday and Saturday, and the 50s on Sunday, he said.
However, despite the warmer temperatures, Lessor said the weekend will bring “more unsettled weather,” as showers are expected during the weekend, with Sunday anticipated to see the heaviest rainfall.
Lessor said the unseasonably warm weather will be short-lived, as colder temperatures will return next week in the days leading up to Christmas. The silver lining is that the bout of colder air will be also be drier, and precipitation is not expected, which should create ideal holiday traveling conditions, he said.