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West Hartford Cleans Up After Storm … Again

Hunter Drive was closed at the intersection with Mountain Road Thursday morning, and Eversource crews said the cleanup of several downed trees could take hours. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

A late season snowstorm dumped nearly a foot of heavy, wet snow on West Hartford, downing trees and power lines and creating a winter wonderland scene.

The 10 inches of sticky wet snow clung to tree branches, creating a beautiful wintery scene early Thursday morning. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

By Ronni Newton

Less than a week after the sounds of chainsaws and generators filled the air from a nor’easter that brought high winds and heavy rain, West Hartford residents are cleaning up the aftermath of another storm that downed trees and knocked out power to hundreds in town.

While West Hartford – which received an estimated 10 inches of heavy, wet snow on Wednesday afternoon and evening – was not nearly as hard hit as the western part of the state, where towns like New Fairfield received upwards of 2 feet of snow, the saturated ground from last Friday’s heavy rain was a likely contributor to a new round of falling trees.

Schools in West Hartford were closed again Thursday, for the second day in a row, which came as a surprise to many because the roads were not in bad shape.

Thursday morning’s school closing announcement said the decision was made because of closed roads and power outages.

“A major reason was that we have low-hanging wires, and major roads that are closed,” Director of Public Works John Phillips said Thursday. Impacted main roads that were closed to traffic Thursday morning included Park at Gifford and Fern between Walbridge and Concord.

In some cases tree branches had not broken, but were weighted down and pushing against power and communications lines which were hanging low across the road.

Beechwood Road, in front of Conard High School, was closed all night because of a pine tree pushing wires into the roadway. “It never fell but was threatening,” Phillips said, and crews were able to clear the area Thursday morning.

“We couldn’t do a full assessment in the dark,” Phillips said. “We’re making good progress now,” he said at 9:30 a.m. The strong March sunshine and temperatures above freezing were also helping, melting the snow off the wires and trees.

Several neighborhoods west of Mountain Road, however, were a tangle of pine trees and power lines Thursday morning, as Eversource crews got to work clearing the lines and restoring power.

Hunter Drive was closed at Mountain Road, and inaccessible from Cedar Ledge as well. An Eversource employee on the scene said Thursday morning that it would be “several hours” before the the work would be done.

At 9:30 a.m. Thursday, there were more than 500 Eversource customers in West Hartford without power, and by noon that had dropped to 360. Statewide, more than 122,000 Eversource customers still remained without power at noon, many of those in the northern part of Fairfield County and along the shoreline.

“West Hartford’s Department of Public Works and the West Hartford Fire Department have a great working relationship with Eversource,” Phillips said. Crews are making good progress dealing with wires and trees, and he is hopeful that the power will be restored quickly.

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Crews cut down a tree on Beechwood Drive in front of Conard High School on Thursday morning that was leaning against the wires, causing the wires to hang across the road and resulting in the closure of the road overnight. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Hunter Drive was closed at the intersection with Mountain Road Thursday morning, and Eversource crews said the cleanup of several downed trees could take hours. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Hunter Drive was closed at the intersection with Mountain Road Thursday morning, and Eversource crews said the cleanup of several downed trees could take hours. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Cedar Ledge looks like a winter wonderland. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

A large pine tree fell across a Uplands Drive yard. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Downed trees littered yards along Uplands Drive. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

A primary power line hangs down across Uplands Drive. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Access to Hunter Drive from Cedar Ledge is blocked by downed trees and wires. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Fern Street closed east of Walbridge. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Fern Street closed west of Concord. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Clover’ the snowman. Photo courtesy of Kelly Farrell

Most of a large maple tree in a yard in the Wood Pond area snapped off during Wednesday night’s storm, leaving a large jagged stump. Photo courtesy of Holly Killeen

Most of a large maple tree in a yard in the Wood Pond area snapped off during Wednesday night’s storm, leaving a large jagged stump. Photo courtesy of Holly Killeen

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