Wolcott Ready for Blizzard

by Christopher O'Brien
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Shoppers jammed Pat’s IGA Monday morning. All parking spaces were full at 9:15 am.

By Chris O’Brien

   *Got news? Text/Call 203-558-5817; e-mail WolcottWhisper@gmail.com, FB or Twitter!* 

  Wolcott stands at the ready for Tuesday’s snowstorm, says town officials.

“Its like the song ‘Waiting on a Woman‘,” says Mayor Thomas G. Dunn around 8:45 Monday. “Well, we’re waiting on a storm.” At that time only 2 inches of blowing snow had fallen on the area throughout the day – allowing the few motorists out and about to return home with last minute provisions.

Town officials say they are ready for  the pending blizzard which may bring anywhere from 12 to 30 inches of snow through Tuesday. “We have the Emergency Operations Center open at the police department, the roads have been pre-treated and we’re ready,” the Mayor tells the Whisper.

The two day storm is expected to be similar to one experienced in 2013 which dumped upwards of 30 inches on the town with higher drifts. The challenge following that storm however was the restoration of commercial services, although Wolcott fared very well compared to other area and state towns. “I don’t think we could have done much better than we did in 2013, but we have a few more four-wheel drive vehicles read to respond if we need to – all of the emergency services are ready.”

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Snow falls around an empty Cumberland Farms Monday evening.

The Police Department has since acquired a Humvee which can be used to respond in deep snow drifts if travel by other vehicles is too difficult. Public Works crews were resting up earlier in the evening so they can be ready to tackle heavier snows later in the morning on Tuesday. A couple of State DOT and other snowplows were seen on Wolcott Rd. around 11 pm, but they were the exception to any traffic as almost all motorists heeded a 9:00 pm travel ban instituted by Governor Malloy.

Police Chief Ed Stevens says that the police are fully staffed with four police officers ready to respond in two 4 x 4 SUVs, and a Fire SUV. Stevens also has a four wheel drive Ford Taurus if he is needed. Fire Department and EMS volunteers are bunkering at their stations for quicker responses. If any resident has a medical emergency, they should call 911.

The Town has a warming station open at the Senior Center and if needed can open the emergency shelter at Tyrrell School if the need arises. If residents need shelter, call the Police Department at (203) 879-1414.

Residents Prepared, Heed Warnings

The two IGA stores were jammed early Monday morning and all spots were taken by 9:00 am as residents waited in long but quickly moving lines at the deli counters and purchasing comfort food with expectations to being homebound for a couple of days if necessary. Interestingly, it appeared that the town was prepared as a full compliment of shovels were untouched at Pat’s IGA Monday morning, and there were several flashlights, headlamps and plenty of batteries still available at Ocean State Job lot as it closed its doors early at 8 pm.

Local stores in Waterbury closed early while only two inches of very fine and light snow covered roadways. Winds began to pick up and start drifting, however intense bands of snow expected to bring 4 and 5 inches of snow per hour were expected to begin sometime after midnight. In the past 12 hours, forecasters have shortened their pr20150126_202536 (2) edictions for how long the storm will last- possibly to finish up around noon on Tuesday. However, they also projected heavier snows in that shorter timespan. As the storm strengthens off the coast of Rhode Island, it may bring blankets of 4-5 inches per hour throughout the night. Unlike the 2013 storm, winds are being sustained over 35 miles per hour driving windchills below zero. This combined with visibility down to a quarter mile or much less is what makes venturing outside dangerous even if venturing to the mailbox.

As of 3 am, high winds have reduced visibility, although snowfall amounts have been a modest few inches.
6 a.m. Update: Many meteorologists are now downgrading the potential snowfall in the Wolcott area to less than 18 inches.

In 2013, Wolcott served as a provisions center for the region as fuel and provisions were unavailable in most of Northwest Connecticut and Waterbury because of power outages and tall piles of snow still clogging intersections. Plowers and residents from as far away as Winsted found provisions here and all of Wolcott’s roads were passable quickly after the end of the 2013 storm. As of 1:58 am, only 159 CL&P customers has lost power statewide, mostly in Middletown due to an accident involving a snowplow. All but seven of those customers had service restored by early morning.

Area convenience stores reported varying degrees of supplies for when the storm clears. The Wolcott Rd. Getty station topped off its 8,000 fuel tanks at 5 pm Monday evening. The Cumberland Farms in the center of town had run out of unleaded fuel, however and only had two packages of hamburger rolls left on its shelves. Both of those stores had closed by 9:00 pm. The Meriden Road Cumberland Farms is remaining open through the storm and the Wolcott Rd. store re-opened by morning. Drivers should wait until the Governor and Mayor re-open roads before venturing out, however. Gas station customers are mostly plow drivers involved with storm cleanup.

Town Waits for Clearing

Few cars ventured out after 5 pm as Governor Malloy asked residents to head home early today. Police report only one accident which occurred in the 1500 block of Wolcott Road, according to Chief Stevens. No one was injured in the incident where a car slid into a pole. “For the most part people are heading the warnings and staying off the roads,” said Stevens.

As of 6:00 am, meterologists are predicting about 18-22 inches in Wolcott. A 45 mph wind gust was reported in Wolcott to WFSB in the early morning.

Important Phone Numbers
911 – Emergencies – Police / Fire / EMS

203-879-1414 – Routine Police, Emergency Operations, Storm Shelter info

800-286-2000  – CL&P – Report any power outages to this number – even if you think its already been reported!

Got pictures? Snow measurements? Interesting news? Tell us!  call/text 203-558-5817, e-mail WolcotWhisper@gmail.com , find us on Facebook or Tweet @WolcottWhisper

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  • krewzer

    I would like to THANK the town crew for again another excellent job of keeping our streets open and very well maintained. You guys are the best!