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.
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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