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Significant Snow in Forecast, West Hartford Parking Ban to Begin Sunday Night [Updated]

Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

The Town of West Hartford’s Public Works Department issued a parking ban effective Sunday, Jan. 31, at 9 p.m. and all West Hartford Public Schools and school offices will be closed on Monday, Feb. 1.

By Ronni Newton

Director of Public Works John Phillips has announced that a parking ban will go into effect at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 31, and will remain in effect until further notice.

Phillips told We-Ha.com Sunday morning that the Department of Pubic Works had done most of its storm preparations by the close of business Friday, when snow was already in the forecast, including pre-trip inspections.

Although the snow is not expected to begin until the pre-dawn hours of Monday, Phillips said it made sense to begin the parking ban Sunday night. “With accumulating snow advancing earlier in the morning, parked cars from over night will be an obstacle we would like to avoid.”

The storm is expected to bring anywhere from 9-16 inches of snow to the area, Phillips said, and is expected to last until Tuesday afternoon. High wind gusts Monday night into Tuesday morning are also possible, which will cause drifting.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch, and later Sunday afternoon upgraded it to a winter storm warningbeginning at 7 a.m. Monday, Feb. 1 and lasting through 5 a.m.. Tuesday, Feb. 2, with 6-10 inches of snow forecast during the day Monday and another 3-5 inches overnight, with additional snow possible into Tuesday morning. Winds are expected to be steady as high as 20 m.p.h., with gusts as high as 45 m.p.h.

Off-street parking

When a parking ban is in effect, the online overnight parking omit system is also disabled and will remain disabled until the parking ban is lifted.

On-street parking is prohibited during the duration of the parking ban so that Public Works crews are able to remove snow from curb-to-curb – which is not possible when cars are parked there.

During the parking ban, residents can park in off-street lots, such as schools, as long as schools are closed for the day. In an announcement issued by the town on Sunday afternoon, drivers have been instructed to remove their cars from school lots as well as free municipal lots by 7 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 2 to avoid being towed. Drivers are also requested to park next to other cars – rather than leaving parking spaces between them – to assist Public Works in effectively clearing the lots.

Regular fees will be in effect at municipal lots and parking garages.

Enforcement

Cars left parked on the street during a parking ban will be ticketed, and may be towed. West Hartford Police will be assisting Public Works to keep the roads clear of illegally parked vehicles.

Snow removal contractors are reminded not to push snow from driveways and private parking lots into the street.

Sidewalks

Per town ordinance, West Hartford property owners are responsible for removing snow and ice from the sidewalk along their property line within 12 hours after the storm or by sunrise – whichever is later. Residents are required to keep sidewalks clear of snow and ice.

It’s particularly important to keep heavily-used sidewalks – those near schools, public buildings, and commercial areas – free and clear. Snow clearing violations should be reported to the West Hartford Police Department at 860-523-5203.

Hydrants

Residents are also asked to help out the West Hartford Fire Department and keep the community safe by shoveling the area around fire hydrants.

Schools [Updated]

All West Hartford Public Schools and school offices will be closed on Monday, Feb. 1, the district announced Sunday evening.

At its meeting on Nov. 17, 2020, the West Hartford Board of Education voted on the district’s snow day police for the 2020-2021 academic year, and decided that the first two days that schools would need to close for weather-related purposes would count as true “snow days,” which will be made up at the end of the year.

The intent is for any additional snow days beyond the two to be treated as remote learning days by all students, including students typically engaged in in-person or hybrid learning.

The state Board of Education in October approved a plan to allow remote learning days to substitute for snow days during this academic year, but West Hartford opted for a compromise plan.

West Hartford has already had one snow day this academic year, on Dec. 17, 2020.

Trash and Recycling Pick-Up

Paine’s Inc. posted on their website Sunday night that all Monday routes are scheduled to run. “We ask that all barrels are out extra early (place 3 to 4 feet back from the curb line to leave room for snow removal) as route schedules WILL change based on safety and snow conditions,” the website states. Customers are encouraged to sign up for email alerts through the Paine’s website to receive the most up-to-date information about changes to their collection.

Travel Bans

Governor Ned Lamont today announced Sunday evening that due to the severe winter storm that is anticipated to impact Connecticut and out of an abundance of caution for the safety of the people in the state, he has signed an order implementing a travel ban on certain tractor trailers. Effective at 5 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 1, the order bans:

  • All empty and tandem tractor trailers from traveling on Interstates 84, 91, and 95.
  • All tractor trailers from traveling on Interstate 84.

The order is being done in collaboration with neighboring states that are implementing similar travel restrictions during the storm and excludes those providing emergency supplies necessary for response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including vaccines, testing supplies, and medications. It will remain in effect until further notice.

State Operations

The governor also announced Sunday evening that state office buildings will be closed on Monday. “This appears to be a significant storm that is about to impact our state, and snowfall is expected to reach rates at times of up to one to two inches per hour, causing whiteout conditions that will make it unsafe to be out on the roads,” Lamont said in a news release. “Therefore, we are directing that all Level 2 state employees who have been physically reporting to their office buildings throughout the ongoing pandemic to stay home out of an abundance of caution, and all those who have been working remotely should continue to do so. I strongly encourage everyone in Connecticut to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary, particularly during the height of the storm when these fast snowfall rates will make it dangerous to be on the roads.”

The state’s severed cold weather protocol has been extended to Wednesday, Feb. 3, and the State Emergency Operations Center, which is already activated in a virtual capacity for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, will remain activated for the purposes of monitoring and responding to conditions resulting from the severe winter storm that is forecast to impact the state beginning the morning of Monday, Feb. 1, the governor’s office announced Sunday evening.

Check your neighbors

Please check on your neighbors, especially those who are elderly or disabled, to make sure they are OK and offer a helping hand. If something doesn’t seem right, please call West Hartford Police at 860-523-5203.

John Lyons, West Hartford’s favorite weather guru, provided a detailed explanation of the upcoming snowstorm in a Facebook Live session on Sunday morning. The complete video can be found below.

Check back regularly with We-Ha.com for updates and storm-related news.

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