Storm Leaves Tangled Mess; Residents Urged to Stay Home

by LonSeidman

Lou DeLage stepped outside to survey the damage to his home this morning to find a twisted mailbox and three thirty feet long limbs with the diameter of a leg across his yard. He began taking pictures when large balls of snow and ice rained down from trees above him. “That was caused by the plow first,” he says, pointing to the mailbox. “Then the branches came down.” He didn’t hear them, but his daughter did around 10 pm last night as a historic storm dumped 15 to 20 inches of wet heavy snow across Wolcott in an unusually early nor’easter. “But hey – I still have power, water, and no damage to my home. I’m lucky,” he said.

Not so lucky are residents of the Woodtick section of Wolcott, extending from Munson Rd. to County and Todd Roads. Some residents took refuge overnight in the town’s emergency shelter at the Senior Center. Mayor Dunn asked all residents to stay home last night and emergency responders are doing the same today.

Wolcott Fire Department reports they began responding to storm related calls at about 2 pm yesterday. Most of those calls involved wires pulled off of homes, in streets, and trees blocking roadways. “We responded to over 100 calls related to the storm,” says Assistant Chief Dennis Dean. One woman was transported to the hospital after a tree pinned her down in her yard. No further information is available on her condition.

The fire and police departments blocked off roads and driveway with yellow tape and traffic cones wherever they could. Residents are advised not to approach these areas on foot or in their vehicles because the wires could still be live. Even snow near those downed wires could be dangerously charged with electricity. During Hurricane Irene, a Prospect firefighter was injured when he stepped in wet ground charged by a downed powerline.

The snow storm made driving particularly difficult, turning the landscape black and white. Town officials are urging residents to stay home because of the number of trees blocking major and minor roads, and the number of wires hanging low around them. As of 12 noon, Woodtick Rd. and Boundline Roads were impassable above the intersection where they both intersect. Multiple trees were on the road just above Della Vecchia Funeral Home and the road was blocked off up to Rt. 322 / County Road. Lower County Road and Beach Roads were both blocked overnight but have since reopened. A telephone pole at the corner of Munson and Coe Roads and multiple trees down on Coe Rd. have left that street blocked from the west. Wolcott Police and Fire Departments report over 25 streets being blocked off. Residents are urged not to go around barriers because of hidden wires and obstacles.

While the main portion of County Road was largely passable, large trees and branches blocked one lane or another. At the intersection of Woodtick Road, vehicles are driving partially on a dirt patch to get around a large downed tree. Branches blocked the road just above East St. Roads to Southington have been unusually manueverous. Skiis weren’t needed to slalom around trees places almost strategically in alternating lanes on Meriden Rd. this morning, forcing motorists to zig zag up or down the treacherous mountain.

“This is worse than the hurricane,” one police officer tells the Whisper in between calls. According to CL-P’s outage map, approximately 42% of town residents are currently without power as of 11 am. At the height of Hurricane, about 28% of residents were without power. Wolcott is faring compartively well to other towns in Connecticut. Most of northwestern Connecticut towns have 90-100% of their residents without power. Southington has 69% and Waterbury 67% of their residents without power. 91% of Cheshire’s residents, 95% of Naugatuck and 100% of Prospects are in the dark.

“Stay Home” repeated more than one of Wolcott’s responders to the Whisper. Its easy to miss a power line and difficult to see black branches in a white snowy background.

There is some relief as temperatures in the 40s are melting the snow from the leaf laden branches, yet temperatures in the low 20s tonight is expected to turn water into sheets of ice. Later this week, temperatures are expected into the low 50s.

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