MERIDEN / WATERBURY — Monday was cleanup day across Connecticut. The weekend storm knocked out power, brought down branches and disrupted daily life. It was the first significant storm of the 2019 winter.
People we spoke with were coping like hearty New Englanders. They had to use a little elbow grease to chip away at the layer of ice that put Connecticut in the deep freeze. The news day started in Meriden. A call came into our newsroom about large branches down.
“All we heard was branches hitting the house all last night. We heard a transformer blow,” said Meriden resident Mark Lewis.
The sheet of ice on his roof may have prevented damage.
“I think the sheet of ice is actually what saved the roof.” With no school — cleaning up was a family affair. The kids were outside helping Dad. “We didn’t lose power luckily. But the storm was just a big mess.”
A few streets over we met Eva Ruiz.
“It’s awful. It’s so cold and it’s bad,” she remarked. She was chipping away at the later of ice that encased her car. “Actually my car door is stuck. Literally. I can’t get in my car because it’s all iced,” said Ruiz.
To Waterbury now where we shot the frozen vistas at Fulton Park. It made for the picture perfect postcard. But as we descended into the neighborhoods — it painted a different picture.
“Oh that was a doozie man!” exclaimed Jose Martinez. Pine Street was poorly plowed, made worse by the cars that were illegally parked. Un-shoveled sidewalks were treacherous.
“Snow but then freezing rain. That makes it terrible. You see the mess that’s happening now,” said Martinez.
Eversource crews camped out on Cooke Street. Not to restore power, but rather — gas service. Anthony Pratt said, “Probably about 11:45 last night I woke up and the house was cold.” Pratt checked the furnace, then tried to light the stove.
“I believe the pressure, maybe the line froze somewhere down the line. They checked numerous homes in the areas,” said Pratt. With two elderly residents, he made sure to set up temporary heat.
“I got a portable kerosene heater. I can’t run it too long because of the fumes but it’s enough to keep the house warm with the electric fireplace,” said Pratt.
It was a day where many people slept in. A day where time seemed to stand still — and where power lines hung low. Remember, most communities give you until 24 hours after a storm to get your sidewalk clear. If you can, it’s always a good idea to clear around fire hydrants.