Storm Closes I-84; Knocks Down Trees; Tests Town and State

by LonSeidman

An early season snow storm is testing Wolcott and the rest of the state today and into the overnight hours. The storm was expected to arrive late this afternoon, however caught motorists in many cases in their tracks with golf sized snowflakes falling around noon.

Two factors are contributing to the unusually large number of problems in today’s storm. First, the leaves have yet to fall off the trees yet, thereby collecting wet snow and weighing down limbs. “The wet ground, with heavy wet snow on the trees is causing a hazard. Stay off the road, because we don’t want anyone caught under a tree,” cautions Mayor Dunn.

Secondly, the early arrival of the storm is leaving many vehicles paralyzed on the road. “Crews are having a hard time getting around today. Cars are getting stuck everywhere, athereby bottlenecking everything,” says Dunn.

Channel 61 meteorologist Rachel Frank warns that despite the heavy snowfall, the worst of the storm isn’t expected until tonight. The winds are expected to pick up, and the snow is expected to fall for another 10 hours. Temperatures just above freezing are contributing to the large, wet flakes. About 900 Wolcott residents were out of power at 5:30. That’s about 13% of the town.

Locally, County Rd. and Todd Roads were closed at one point or another due to accidents on the hills. As vehicles turned around on Country Rd., some slid off the roadway near the golf course, includin one vehicle which went down the hill driverless until it careened into some brush. No one was injured by that vehicle. Some cars attempted to ascend Meriden Rd. to come into town – only to get 2/3 up the mountain and be blocked by rear wheel drive vehicles.

As of 5 pm, both Todd and County Roads were open, however Mayor Dunn wants residents to stay home. “There’s no reason to go out and there’s a real danger of trees falling down on someone.” The summer and fall’s unusually wet weather is contributing to the risk of top-heavy trees becoming weak in the roots and toppling over.

I-84 is currently closed in Southington and Cheshire due to a tree down. Around 3 pm, the highway was slow going for the same reasons as everywhere else. Rt. 69 in Waterbury was at a standstill for about two miles from Walmart to East Main St.

As of 5:20, Governor Malloy has ordered the Merrit Parkway and Wilbur Cross Parkway closed until further notice. He will speak to the public at 6:30 this evening and has been in the state’s Emergency Operatiions Center in Hartford.

Cheshire is reporting hundreds of residents without power and a shelter is being set up at the town’s senior center on Maple St. Over 300,000 state residents are currently without power.

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