Area residents digging out from storm face power outages, school closures

Area residents digging out from storm face power outages, school closures

Residents on Thursday began to dig out from a nor’easter that left more than a foot of snow, while utility crews worked to restore electricity to local customers who lost power during the storm.

Gary Lessor, meteorologist with the Weather Center at Western Connecticut State University, said the state saw snow totals ranging from 5 inches to 28 inches. Southington had 14 inches of snow, Wallingford had 13 inches and Cheshire had 10 inches. Lessor said the storm’s intensity was greater than expected, and some areas of the state experienced snowfall rates of 4 to 5 inches per hour.

About 100,000 Eversource Energy customers were without power as of 6 p.m. Thursday. There were 60 outages in Meriden, 969 in Cheshire and 81 in Southington.

While snow fell late Wednesday night, about 5,600 Cheshire customers were without power.

Eversource spokesman Frank Poirot said 50,000 customers across the state who lost electricity had power restored overnight.

“It’s not a simply matter of driving up to a broken pole and fixing it right now,” he said. “It’s simply getting access to the trouble spots. There are large trees blocking thoroughfares.”

Rick Hendershot, Director of Public Utilities in Wallingford, said approximately 250 customers in 25 locations were without power Thursday morning.

“It looks like our public works department did very good work overnight,” he said.

Several hundred residents near East Center Street were without power Thursday afternoon while crews worked to repair lines damaged by fallen trees.

Wallingford Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Czentnar said responding to downed lines requires cooperation between two to four departments to make the situation safe.

His department contacts the town’s electric division and evaluates the situation. If a downed cable is a 13,000-volt primary electric line or if it is sparking in a roadway or near a home, the electric division is asked to prioritize it.

“We contact the electric division immediately, they have a great response time here,” he said.

Despite the heavy snow, there were no major issues on highways throughout the area. Meriden police said there were several roads affected by wires down or tree limbs on wires including Oregon Road, Alexander Drive and East Main Street.

 Wallingford police said Northford Road and Masonic Avenue were affected by cracked poles.

During the storm, state police responded to six accidents with injuries and 166 without injuries between 11 a.m. Wednesday and 7 a.m. Thursday. They also received 1526 service calls and 565 motorist assists.

Authorities reminded all motorists to clear snow and ice from their vehicles before driving after snow from a tractor trailer damaged a car’s windshield on Interstate 84 east by exit 27 Thursday. No injuries were reported.

“Clear your vehicle (TTs & buses included) of ALL snow & ice before traveling,” state police said on Twitter. 

Schools in Meriden, Wallingford, Southington and Cheshire were closed Thursday for the second day in a row, and local students took advantage of the day off by sledding down the hills at Hubbard Park in Meriden.

Tina Worboys, of Meriden, said it was refreshing to take a trip down the street to the park for some sledding and snowman-building with her two daughters.

“It’s a beautiful snow day,” she said. “We’re just loving the fresh air.”

Rachel Worboys, 11, of Meriden, said the dense, wet snow packed down easily for fast sledding, as she and her sister, Riley Worboys, 8, rolled the first balls of snow for their snowmen.

Snowballs sailed through the air nearby as a group of kids slung snowballs at the base of the hill.

“It’s real fun,” said Kai D’Addio, 9, of Cheshire, as his friends took a break to pack together more projectiles on their sleds.

“It’s great to see kids from all over getting together and having fun,” said Andrea D’Addio, Kai’s mother. “They’re doing what kids should do.”

State offices had a one hour delayed opening Thursday morning due to the storm.

Bradley International Airport was catching up on delays, said spokeswoman Alisa Sisic. Approximately 30% of flights Thursday morning were canceled