Nor’easter to bring snow, high winds overnight into Saturday

Monroe Town Hall in heavy snow. Photo by Melissa Garrity

MONROE, CT — A Nor’easter is heading this way and a blizzard warning was issued Friday, with high winds and heavy snow in the forecast tonight into Saturday. First Selectman Ken Kellogg says power outages are possible.

In the event of power outages or the loss of other utilities, Police Capt. Keith White, who is also the town’s emergency management director, reminds residents to call their service providers.

“Please do not contact 911 for non-emergency situations,” he said Friday. “If your power or services go out, please contact the appropriate vendor. The phone numbers are all posted on the town’s webpage.”

For non-emergencies that are not about lost utilities, the first selectman said calls should be made to the town’s dispatch center at 203-261-3622. “This will ensure that the proper departments are notified and the matter prioritized,” Kellogg said.

White reminds residents of the town ordinance banning on-street parking during snowstorms.

“We just ask people to be prepared,” White said Friday. “If you do not have to go out at the peak of the storm, please do not.”

“The storm’s magnitude is highly dependent upon the storm track, and a slight change in its path west or east will have a significant effect on the severity in Monroe,” Kellogg said in a storm update issued Friday evening. “As of the 4 p.m. forecast from the State of Connecticut Emergency Management, our area could receive over one foot, and possibly up to two feet of snow, with near blizzard conditions at times. High winds may cause blowing and drifting of snow. Our town crews have been planning for this storm and are ready to respond.”

On Friday afternoon, Public Works Director Chris Nowacki told The Sun he has been closely following the weather forecast and that town Highway Department workers did final checks of their plow trucks before the big storm.

He said the Highway Department is doing its normal storm preparation. “At this point, we’re ready to do all the things we need to do,” Nowacki said. “We’re in good shape.”

A crew of 17 drivers and two crew leaders with dedicated routes will monitor the storm and await reports from police about the start of the snowfall, according to Nowacki. He said two private contractors will handle the town’s five miles of dirt roads, intersections and turnarounds.

“The Parks and Recreation Department will be notified in the same fashion and handle town facilities, firehouses, the senior center, Town Hall, the library and the food pantry,” Nowacki said of parking lots. “One dump truck will be assigned to the industrial park.”

The town has had ongoing deliveries of salt, though Nowacki said a “material eating storm” is not expected Saturday. When there is ice, he said more salt is used, adding Saturday’s forecast is for a “dry storm.”

“The biggest hiccups will be the light powdery snow and the forecast includes winds, restricting visibility,” Nowacki said. “That changes the dynamics of the storm.”

Nowacki said safety is of the utmost importance. White said emergency services, including police, firefighters and the Monroe Volunteer Emergency Medical Service will be active and available during the storm.

Plow truck drivers will be ready to leave their routes to prioritize any emergencies, clearing and salting roads to ensure emergency vehicles can get through. Nowacki recalled one storm a few years ago, in which his drivers cleared roads for fire trucks responding to a residential blaze on Guinea Road.

It may take longer to clear snow from state highways, because of a high number of drivers calling out sick, including for COVID, according to published reports.

Power outages possible

In preparation for potential power outages, Kellogg said Eversource has already brought in additional crews.

“However we know that storm severity can impact their ability to safely deploy personnel during the storm, which impacts restoration times,” Kellogg said. “Please remember that in the event of a power outage, contact Eversource directly to report the outage.”

Eversource Energy issued a press release Thursday letting its customers know it is strategically prepositioning equipment and line and tree crews across the state — including hundreds of additional out-of-state crews — so they’re ready to respond quickly and safely to any storm-related outages.

On Thursday, Steve Sullivan, Eversource president of Connecticut electric operations, said, “we’ve had a close eye on this storm since the beginning of the week and continue to carefully track its path using several weather services and storm models. This storm has been tough to track, and we aren’t leaving anything to chance. We have hundreds of crews flying in throughout the day today — and more arriving tomorrow — from southern and western parts of the country, so we don’t have to wait for them to drive here.”

“They’ll be geared up and ready to respond to this storm alongside our Eversource crews,” Sullivan said. “We also remind customers that restorations may take longer as we ensure the safety of our employees who will be responding in challenging road conditions.”

Eversource reminds customers to always stay clear of downed wires and to report them immediately to 9-1-1. Be sure to report any outage online at Eversource.com, or by calling 800-286-2000. Customers who signed up for the company’s two-way textingfeature can send a text to report an outage and receive outage updates as they happen.

Customers are encouraged to prepare for the storm by assembling or restocking a storm kit which should include essentials like flashlights, batteries, water, non-perishable foods, pet food and essentials and any needed medications. In addition, make sure cell phones and devices are full charged, create an emergency plan with family members and check on elderly neighbors and friends.

Additional preparedness tips can be found at Eversource.com.

Eversource also released a preparedness briefing.

Garder Road Landfill closed

Kellogg notified residents that the Garden Road Landfill will be closed Saturday.

The storm information on the town website includes key numbers to call for issues with utilities:

Eversource – Power Outage: 1-800-286-2000

Eversource – Natural Gas: 1-877-944-5325 

Aquarion: 1-800-732-9678

Charter/Spectrum: 1-833-780-1880

Frontier: 1-800-921-8101

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