Snow Days Made For Hard Work, Some Play

As soon as residents cleared snow from walkways, streets, and lots that blanketed the town on Monday, the sky opened up again. Wednesday morning brought a second round of path and driveway clearing, as between six and nine inches of snow topped Monday’s precipitation. By early afternoon Wednesday, the blustery white flakes turned into rain.

School was canceled twice this week, and public works crews and private contractors alike put in plenty of overtime. Monday’s storm arrived around 5 am and continued very steadily until early evening.

Town employees reported to work by 4 am, and were on the roads within the hour.

“We anticipated that the snows would be starting shortly after 5, which they did, and we were trying to get a jump on the rush hour,” said Mr Hurley. The hour before the snow started, he said, “gave them time to get their trucks ready, with sand and salt. “When the snow started, we were already out there sanding hills, bridges and intersections,” said Mr Hurley.

Plenty of vehicles were still seen on the roads by midafternoon, but it was a much lighter traffic load than a Monday would usually bring.

Roadways were very slick, said Mr Fred Hurley, and a number of minor accidents were reported.

“At this point in the storm, unless you’re on a road that’s been plowed off, or has heavy traffic, they’ve very slick,” Mr Hurley said shortly after 3 that afternoon. “This snow is very slick.

“There have been a lot of accidents today where people have just slid off the roads,” he added. “That’s state roads as well as town roads. Four-wheel drive will get you started, but it won’t stop you if you hit a slick spot.”

With school canceled for the day, some of the town’s younger residents were outdoors enjoying the weather. Sean and Isabelle Caron were among them, sledding and snowboarding in their front yard while their father worked to clear the family’s driveway Monday afternoon.

Sean was also taking a few opportunities to taste test the fresh snow, smiling each time he put a handful into his mouth.

Elsewhere, parents took advantage of having some additional help around the house. A few children and young adults were spotted with shovels in hand, clearing driveways and walkways at their home.

Wednesday, February 5, was a similar scene, with snow beginning before daybreak and again continuing until early evening. This storm was expected to be much worse than Monday’s, with greater snow accumulations and the added bonus of sleet and freezing rain also expected: the entire state was under a National Weather Service Winter Storm Warning, which remained in effect on February 5 until 6 pm.

With that in mind, Superintendent of Schools John Reed made the decision before 7 pm Tuesday to cancel Wednesday’s classes. Governor Dannel P. Malloy also acted early. On Tuesday he not only announced that he would partially activate the state’s Emergency Operations Center by midnight to begin monitoring storm conditions, he also announced that legislative leaders had agreed to push back the start of the joint legislative session by one day due to the storm. Gov Malloy rescheduled his State of the State Address to noon Thursday, February 6.

In Newtown, it was another very quiet day on the roads. The town municipal center had a delayed opening, and many businesses followed suit. Other businesses opted to stay closed for the full day, keeping employees and customers off the roads during a storm that went from snow to sleet, then freezing rain, and back to a final dusting of light snow around 6 before finally ending.

Snow may create a lot of labor, but it also proved to be fun for Linda Saren on Wednesday as she tossed snowballs for her spaniel Twoey. Leaping, Twoey grabbed at the snowballs over and over again. The woman and her pet were alone in the lot near PJ’s Laundromat in Sandy Hook Center until she spotted a man carrying his shovel and waved to greet him.

Two lone sledders had the Treadwell Park slopes to themselves as they sat on slick plastic and raced downhill, then trudged to the top again. Traditionally after a snowfall Treadwell finds its hills filled with children, but just the two had made it out Wednesday.

Scant traffic crept over slushy pavement in Sandy Hook Center where sounds of plows and snow throwers echoed off old factory buildings. Michael Porco, Jr, plowed a parking lot behind The Toy Tree, while his crew member Michael Tobin worked a snow thrower along a fence overlooking the Pootatuck River. Aside from one compact car stuck in the snow, its passengers pushing it free, Ms Saren, Mr Porco, and Mr Tobin were among the few people out early Wednesday.

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