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2014’s 13th storm “more of the same” for public works

Meriden Public Works Director Robert Bass said his crews will be happy to see spring arrive so they can have a respite after slogging through another snowstorm on Tuesday. Exhausted employees have been plowing for days, with perhaps a day off between storms before the next snowfall forces them to resume, he said.

“Mother Nature brings it down, we have to move it,” Bass said.

Gary Lessor, meteorologist at Western Connecticut State University’s Weather Center, said the snow, which stopped about 2:30 p.m., accumulated about six and a half inches in Meriden, six in Wallingford, and four in Southington.

The season’s cumulative snowfall for the area is about 65 inches — 50 inches below the record of 115 inches, which was set in the winter of 1996-97, Lessor said.

Temperatures remained around freezing Tuesday and were expected to drop overnight. Rain is expected today, with daytime temperatures rising into the high 30s and climbing steadily through the week and reaching as high as 50 degrees on Saturday, Lessor said.

After Thursday’s storm, Meriden and other area towns were beginning to run low on road salt.

The city received a delivery of about 175 tons of salt Monday, and another 2,500 tons are on order, Bass said.

Cheshire Public Works Director George Noewatne said the town also received a delivery of salt after its supply had been depleted, but he was uncertain of the quantity.

Slippery highway conditions caused state police to respond to 1,128 calls during the storm Tuesday, including 94 accidents and 160 motorist assists. Twenty-one injuries were reported.

Police departments in Meriden, Wallingford, and Southington reported several minor accidents Tuesday. Cheshire police did not report any accidents.

Public safety units responded to a high number of slips and falls as a result of the recent onslaught of storms. Meriden Deputy Fire Chief David Bowen advised residents to be wary of layers of ice beneath the snow.

The weather has also indirectly contributed to several fires. Wallingford Fire Department crews responded to a chimney fire on South Branford Road Tuesday morning that involved the use of a wood stove, said Battalion Chief Joseph Czentnar. The fire was contained to the chimney. Another chimney fire occurred on Savage Street in Southington Tuesday morning. Lt. James Paul of the Southington Fire Department said the fire was caused by a basement wood stove that built up residue over time. No one was injured in the incident.

A Meriden vehicle fire, which sent one person to the hospital, also resulted from Tuesday’s storm. A van was stuck in a snow bank behind Marianna’s Bakery on West Main Street, and the when the operator tried to “rock” the vehicle out, enough friction was produced to ignite the front passenger tire and set the front of the van ablaze, said Meriden Deputy Fire Marshal John Yacovino. The driver was treated for smoke and fumes inhalation, but the injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, he said.

Record-Journal reporter Jeff Gebeau contributed to this report.



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