Greater New Haven 'dodged a bullet' in nor'easter

New Haven Register |

--NEW HAVEN -- Nobody whose job it was to clear snow off our roads seemed at all disappointed that New Haven and other areas along the shoreline got far less of the stuff Tuesday than forecasters had said.

And while many area streets were relatively quiet and the schools were closed -- and downtown New Haven was particularly quiet compared to a usual Tuesday -- you didn't hear much post nor'easter groaning from residents and business-goers, either.

But the relative dusting near the shore -- followed by some dazzling afternoon sunshine -- was a localized phenomenom.

Hamden got 4.8 inches of snow, North Haven saw 5.5 inches -- and parts of eastern and northeastern Connecticut reveled in 15-22 inches of snow, according to WFSB-TV, Channel 3.

As of late Tuesday afternoon, Griswold had been buried in 22 inches of snow, Waterford had been slammed with 17.5 inches and Norwich got 16 inches, WFSB reported.

New Haven, by contrast, lifted its downtown and residential parking bans early, ending them both as of rather than extending them into Wednesday as originally planned.

"I'd say, honestly," much of New Haven got "less than an inch," said city Emergency Operations Director Rick Fontana. "I think we had a little more in the northern end of the city."

The city had wind gusts of 31 mph Tuesday morning around , Fontana said.

"We did very well plowing," Fontana said. "We did have some slush on the roads ... Our biggest thing was, we had trees and wires on the roads."

New Haven received five such calls, Fontana said.

"I"ll tell you, I think we did very well. I think we dodged a bullet..." he said. "By the weather forecast, we anticipated much more than we got."

In West Haven, the city didn't even have to fully deploy its plows because the snow that did fall melted on its own, said acting Public Works Director Louis P. Esposito Jr.

"We had the guys on standby but we didn't need to call them in," said Esposito, also Mayor Nancy Rossi's executive assistant.

"We did a little bit of light maintenance, put a little salt down" and then had to "move some slush around" on "just a few streets, but nothing major," he said. "Most of the streets were warm enough that once the snow stopped, it just melted away."

"Other than that, we had a couple of minor limbs come down, taken care of by our tree service," Esposito said.

"I'll tell you, this is my kind of snowstorm," said Rossi, who said the city lucked out. She pointed out that at least one West Haven city worker was unable to make it to work "because he lives in Shelton and they got a foot" of snow.

Tweed New Haven Regional Airport remained open for general aviation takeoffs and landings but all of its American Eagle commercial flights for Monday night, all day Tuesday and early Wednesday were cancelled, Assistant Airport Manager Felipe Suriel said.

The first commercial flight is expected to land about noon Wednesday, Suriel said.

Bradley International Airport also remained open, but approximately 75 percent of Tuesday's arriving and departing flights were canceled.

Passengers who are scheduled to travel are advised to check with their airline on their individual flight itineraries and any potential rebooking options before heading to the airport. Several airlines are issuing travel waivers.

According to state police Sgt. Eric J Haglund , state police received 810 calls for service during the storm and there were 77 reported motor vehicle accidents, including two with injuries.

State police were called to assist 170 motorists, Haglund said.

According to the National Weather Service, there was a 30 percent chance of light snow Tuesday night, with a low around 28 degrees.

The forecast for Wednesday included a 30 percent chance of snow showers, mainly after noon. Wednesday's forecast called for it to be mostly cloudy with a high near 39 degrees and wind chill values between 20 and 30 degrees.

Wednesday night, there was a 30 percent chance of snow showers, mainly before The forecast called for it to be cloudy with a low around 30 degree and wind chill values between 20 and 25 degrees.

The impact of this storm was particularly evident on elevations. Snow totals varied significantly throughout the state, ranging from 4 to 8 inches in western Connecticut, 6 to 12 in central and 10 to 14 in the eastern portion of the state, Gov. Dannel Malloy said.

Malloy said last week's storm resulted in significant power outages -- around 160,000 -- throughout the state, but the number of outages aren't expected to be as significant this time.

Between UI and Eversource, there were around 1,600 outages, with hundreds of line and tree crews dispersed around the state, according to Malloy. However, bucket trucks cannot go up when winds are above 30 to 35 miles per hour so repairs may take some time, he said.

The United Illuminating Co. reported one customer without power in both New Haven and Shelton, and Eversource reported one in Branford, five in Guilford and 40 in Madison, as of

Malloy said Metro-North operated full service, with some delays, and Connecticut buses ran on a full schedule, with some detours, although Shore Line East suspended service at one point and Amtrak suspended service between Boston and Penn Station in New York.

Silver Sands Road (Route 337) in East Haven was closed at Cosey Beach Road because of utility wires on the ground, according to the state Department of Transportation.


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