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A blizzard moved slowly through Cheshire earlier this week, resulting in headaches for motorists and power outages for homeowners all over the area.
Starting Sunday afternoon and continuing through early Monday afternoon, Mother Nature dropped a foot of snow in many parts of the state. Locally in Cheshire, travel was treacherous for those who braved the weather. Fortunately, Cheshire Police Lt. James Fasano said, many motorists decided to head home early on Sunday, or stay in for the duration of the storm.
"Everyone ran out early and by noon on Sunday, it seemed like the roads were empty," Fasano said. "People stayed home."
There were a few accidents to report, Fasano said, as a car hit a telephone pole and, along Cook Hill Road, a vehicle became disabled. Around 2:30 p.m. Sunday, right about the time the snow began to come down, there was an accident on Broad Swamp Road, but no one was injured. For the most part, it was quiet for the Cheshire Police Department, save for a few extra duty jobs as a result of downed power lines and tree limbs. Along Carlton Drive, there was a low hanging wire and on Waterbury Road a tree was resting on the power line.
"There were wires down in a lot of places," Fasano explained.
A major issue occurred at the intersection of Mt. Sanford Road and Romulus Road at around 11 p.m. Sunday. Fasano explained that a "large" pine tree fell down and, in the process, snapped two telephone poles and pulled down power lines. On Monday morning, crews were still working to clear up the area. Also, a tree branch came down along Spring Street, which caused another minor power outage.
"There were a few power surges through town," Fasano stated.
Schools were off this week for the holiday break, but there is no doubt cancellations and delays would have ensued otherwise. Cheshire Town Hall got a late start on Monday, after the decision was made to open at noon. By that time, most of the snow was cleared from the roads and the storm had stopped.
However, strong winds were blowing snow all over, so drivers were still taking it easy, even on the fast moving Route 10. Trash and recycling pickup was cancelled on Monday, pushing back the service a day.
According to Katie Blint, a spokesperson with Connecticut Light & Power, at the peak of the power outages there were 32,000 Connecticut residents without power. Overall during the storm, CL&P restored power to 82,000 customers, she said. However, Blint said Cheshire wasn't too adversely affected by the storm, as the shoreline communities were hit the hardest.
Cheshire Highway Superintendent Mark Cunningham said the Public Works Department was preparing for the storm on Thursday afternoon. With the long holiday weekend looming, they prepared "as if it was going to be a blizzard." Crews were loading up the sanders and attaching plows in preparation for the storm so, when they were called in on Sunday, they could hit the road immediately.
"We knew it would be a large storm with a lot of snow on the asphalt, so we came in early and put down treated salt on the roads," Cunningham explained. "That helps stop the bond with the snow and the road."
The first crews were called in on Sunday around noon, Cunningham explained. Eventually, the entire fleet was out plowing and sanding Cheshire's 151 miles of roads. Also, backhoes and other equipment were deployed throughout town to help remove tree limbs that had fallen. Cunningham explained that the crews worked until about 2 a.m. Monday, then took shifts catching an hour or two away from the road. They continued to work straight through Monday morning, and completed their normally scheduled shift, which ended Monday afternoon. According to Cunningham, the workers were paid double time from when they were called in on Sunday until midnight, and then time and a half until 7 a.m. Monday morning. They earned their regular wage through the remainder of the day on Monday.
"They were pretty tired," he said.