Snowstorm passes through relatively painlessly
Published 1:07 am, Friday, February 12, 2010
At 3 p.m. on Wednesday, there was a rare sight in Westport along the Post Road. There was no traffic, an event that any driver in the area has likely yearned for when stuck behind another car. The roads, while full of wet, dirty slush, were relatively safe and clear.
The snowstorm, which began early that morning, was a quiet affair in the town of Westport. It didn't seem like it was going to be at first.
Early meteorologist predictions called for possibly more than a foot of snow. Stop & Shop sent out emergency weather information to all the customers on their mailing list. In the e-mail, a "storm readiness checklist" was provided based on recommendations from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Keep cash and credit cards available? Check.
Fill your car's gas tank so that you're ready in the case of evacuation? Check.
Store a manual can opener? Check.
In the end, such precautions remained exactly that: precautions.
"Honestly, we had a very non-eventful day yesterday. It was quiet," said Deputy Chief Dale Call of the Westport Police Department. "There were very few accidents and most people didn't go out until later [in the day]."
He added, "The roads were pretty much just wet yesterday. People didn't go to work. The train stations were empty."
Outside the Westport Fire Department at 515 Post Road E., a vehicle seemed to pass by every 30 seconds. Most were pickup trucks with plows attached to the front. The others were predominantly SUVs, with a few cars sprinkled in here and there.
Across the street, the stools of the newly-opened Five Guys Burgers and Fries were placed on the tables. The lights were off and the restaurant was closed. The sign on the front said "Open 7 Days a Week." The majority of businesses throughout town were closed, while others remained open throughout the day.
Westport schools were also closed on Wednesday, with an additional two hour delay on Thursday.
Despite the closing on Wednesday, Green's Farms Elementary School had a large congregation of students outside. They were sledding in the snow, which by the end of the day totaled about seven inches.
Westport, it turned out, was lucky. The further east along the coast, the less snow there was.
"There was a lull in the snow in the afternoon. Some of the dry air got picked up," Scalora said. [The snow] picked back up in the evening."
However, that second round of accumulation was minimal.
The people who had the day off from school or work didn't have to worry about power outages putting a damper on their snow day. Only one house in town had no electricity. The reason was because a private plow truck hit a pole.
"It could have been a whole lot worse," said Mitch Gross, spokesperson for Connecticut Light & Power. "We were very fortunate."
As people were keeping warm in their homes, plow truck drivers for the Westport Department of Public Works were beating the cold in their vehicles. The drivers began their day at 5 a.m. on Wednesday by laying down salt on the roads. They were finally able to go home more than 24 hours later on Thursday morning.
Stephen Edwards, director of the Public Works Department, said that most of the employees who come in to clear Westport's roads commute from relatively far away -- such as towns like Milford -- so when they begin their shift, they don't leave until the job is over.
"Now they're bringing their tired butts home," Edwards said Thursday morning.
With the plowing over, nature is taking care of the rest.
"It was much better [than expected]. There were no major problems," Edwards said. "The nice part about it was that it was fairly warm [on Wednesday] and the best part is that it's 40 degree now, so I got black pavement everywhere."