By Bettina Thiel – Woodbridge Town News Correspondent
The January blizzard may have packed less of a punch than widely expected, but for the town’s road crew, the driving winds presented a challenge all the same. “At the onset snow was continuous, but not heavily accumulating,” Public Works Director Warren Connors said, “but around 2 a.m. [Tuesday, January 27] it intensified.” Visibility was restricted and the snow was so intense that crews encountered near white-out conditions, he said. The tough part was that the driving wind would quickly cover freshly plowed areas.
To stay on top of it, the town’s road crews decided to continue plowing through the night and not take the four-hour break they are entitled to. “They knew that we would not recover,” after leaving nature to itself at the height of the storm, Connors said.
Woodbridge got about 10 inches of snow, compared to the 38 inches dumped during the blizzard of 2013. Even so, this weather event still qualified as a blizzard, as it is not the quantity of snow that accumulates, but the intensity of snow over a certain duration, Connors said. Luckily no downed trees or power lines caused power outages, and thanks to a state-wide travel ban, no traffic accidents occurred. The emergency shelter was open at the Woodbridge senior center, and one resident made use of it for the night.
All in all it was a day to curl up in front of the fire, at least for the general public. For the public works crews, however, the timing of the storm meant two normal working days connected by16 hours of plowing.
The new garage proved “a blessing,” Connors said. Its heated bays allow crews to get the chains on inside, rather than in the below-freezing temperature, and bring the trucks into a heated environment should they need maintenance. Another blessing was the directive from Hartford for motorists to stay off the roads until 2 p.m. Tuesday. “It was super for anyone’s ability to clean the road,” Connors said. Before Connors went home Tuesday afternoon, he could recommend to the superintendent of schools that roads were passable for buses on Wednesday morning. “It could have been worse,” Connors said, while he was checking radar images for the next weather event Thursday night.
In the meantime, empty moving boxes were dropped off in Connors’ office in the Town Hall basement. Both he and office manager Cyndi Pecca and clerk Annette Carofano will be moving into offices on the top floor of the new garage this month, weather permitting, that is. “It’s going to be interesting,” Connors said.