At least 5 killed in 'historic' snow storm
Some parts of Conn. saw nearly two to three feet of snow
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. — A historic blizzard, with snowfall and winds not seen in 35 years, will slowly loosen its hold on the region today as residents and town crews across Northwest Connecticut continue to dig out from 2 to nearly 3 feet of snow.
At least five people in Connecticut were killed during the storm, including an elderly Prospect woman who was struck by a vehicle while she was clearing snow Friday night.
In some neighborhoods, Sunday morning there were roads still unplowed and streets inaccessible. Only the most ambitious drivers with four- wheel drives and emergency vehicles with chains managed to blast through some streets Saturday, and the snowdrifts often stopped them, too, as wheel wells packed full with heavy, wet snow.
In Naugatuck, a ladder truck and engine truck had to be freed from a 7 -foot drift on Spencer Street with the help of Jeff Skinner, a public works employee with a payloader, said Fire Capt. Vincent Healy.
In Watertown, a plow truck sat buried in huge drifts along Route 6.
At every corner was evidence of the storm which barreled into Southern New England with full force Friday night, leaving hundreds of thousands in the dark, mostly in southeastern Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Power in southeastern Connecticut is expected to be out for some customers until at least 5 p.m. Sunday, according to Connecticut Light & Power.
State police as of Saturday night said they would not identify thewoman killed, or provide any details other than the accident was a hit and run.
Mayor Robert J. Chatfield said he knows the woman, who was in her 80s. She was found about 100 feet from the snowblower. When firefighters arrived, snow was falling 3 to 4 inches an hour, and the woman was covered by snow, the mayor said.
Throughout Friday night, winds averaging between 40 and 55 mph, with gusts into the 60s, whirled snow into frenzied funnels and horizontal sheets. People who ventured outside were blown down, their footsteps quickly filling in behind them.
State police responded to 3,000 calls during the storm and 600 accidents.
Many people on Waterbury's streets left their cars behind. They were buried by morning, snow up to their doors and hoods. The city started towing them Saturday afternoon.
Emergency responders struggled to do their jobs. Waterbury firefighters parked and walked to respond to medical calls, said Fire Chief David Martin.
In Wolcott, police used fourwheel- drive vehicles to pick up nurses in town and bring them to the town yard, where they then were taken to Waterbury or Saint Mary's hospitals, said Police Capt. Domenic Angiolillo.
Five nurses were taken, including one who was dropped at the Bristol line and driven by Bristol police to the Bristol Hospital, he said.
Wolcott Mayor Thomas G. Dunn said during the worst of the storm, between about midnight and 4 a.m., there was no visibility and it was impossible for snow plowsto travel.
"At one point, the whole town was shut down," Dunn said. "There was no way to get there if anything happened. We just prayed nothing bad would happen, or that there weren't any ambulance calls or fire calls."
Dunn, driving a snowplow, picked up several people who needed to get to work.
" We're not a limousine business, but in a situation like this, if they called us for help, we got them there," Dunn said.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Service on Saturday morning began reporting snowfall tallies: 33 inches in Wolcott, 25 inches in Winsted, 24 inches in Torrington and 18 inches in Thomaston. Close to 3 feet was reported in Plymouth and Harwinton.
Other reports put Oxford at 36 inches, Waterbury at 24 and higher elevations of Torrington at 28.
"Nobody lost out on this," said John J. Bagioni, a Burlingtonbasedmeteorologist."Everybodyshared in the wealth."
The westernmost towns, such as Kent, celebrated at getting only a foot.
"I think we ended up with one of the lowest snow totals in the state," said First Selectman Bruce K. Adams, grateful for the 12 inches in his yard.
In Litchfield, Morris, Goshen and Warren, officials reported between a foot and 18 inches, and thankfully nobody on the roads. In Salisbury.
It was high winds, not too much snow, that forced part of the Salisbury Winter Sports Association'sJumpfest competitionto be rescheduled for today.
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