News

The Big Dig Continues In Connecticut; 2 Found Dead In Snow-Covered Car

State Stays Shut Down On Monday; Governor Hopes For Normalcy By Mid-Week
A snow-covered street near St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport - Feb. 11, 2013 (credit: Paul Murnane / WCBS 880)

A snow-covered street near St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport – Feb. 11, 2013 (credit: Paul Murnane / WCBS 880)

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — Monday proved to be a snow day in Connecticut, mostly because people had the same problem they had on Saturday and Sunday.

They couldn’t get anywhere.

Most colleges were closed and non-essential state workers were told to stay home as plow crews continued to clear highways and local streets two days after the blizzard ended.

“It is pretty miserable out there,” Gov. Dan Malloy told WCBS 880’s Pat Farnack. “We got record snow accumulation in a large number of our towns — as much as 40 inches — and digging out is very difficult, particularly in those urban environments where roads are a little narrower and cars are on the side.”

“So, we’re trying to get as many payloaders into the state and into those environments to help clean up,” he added.

At a news conference Monday evening, Malloy said the state had brought in 400 pieces of snow-removal equipment – but that figure needs to be taken in context.

“We’re going to continue to clear our roads. We still have a lot of work to do on some of our secondary state highways. But that is about upwards of 400 pieces of apparatus that could be made available,” Malloy said. “Having said that, that’s not 400 front-end loaders. There’s about 63 of those that are being made available as we speak.”

Malloy said during the storm, some towns did not follow his advice to plow constantly. But he could not require the towns to do so.

“I gave advice. The advice was to plow throughout the storm. Subject to safety issues, they have the right to make their own decisions about safety issues,” he said.

But Malloy said as far as he knows, state officials made sure to do their part.

“What I can tell you is that with respect to our Department of Transportation, we remained plowing throughout the storm,” Malloy said. “But let me assure you, my commissioner followed my advice. We plowed throughout the storm.”

In terms of mistakes, Malloy said there is plenty to learn.

“There are places that are more adversely impacted, in some cases because they got more snow – that’s a certain reality,” the governor said. “So we’ll look at how people responded to this. We’ll try to reinforce lessons learned.”

Among the major concerns in the wake of the blizzard is the threat of roof collapses, Malloy said.

“I remain very concerned about the possibility of roof collapses,” Malloy said. “We have 16 reported collapses so far. That’s up from five this morning. Clearly, the weight of the rain and the melting snow is having an impact.”

Malloy was traveling to Branford and New Haven late Monday morning and hoped to also survey the scene in Bridgeport.

“We’re hoping that by Wednesday, if we can avoid another snowstorm, we’ll be back a lot closer to normal than we are today,” Malloy said.

Malloy also advised Monday evening that municipalities decide as soon as possible whether they can reopen their schools. Some school districts have already canceled classes through Wednesday, and “safety is the number one concern.”

CBS 2’s Emily Smith visited Fairfield on Monday, where 35 inches fell, burying cars, fences and driveways.

“It’s incredible, really incredible this amount of snow, and there’s nowhere to put it,” resident Kathy Mazza said. “Yes, we were pretty much holed up [in her home] yesterday and day before.”

Neil Cederbaum of Trumbull said he was losing patience — and money — since his video game business thrives on people coming through the door.

“I wasn’t able to get out of my driveway for three days,” Cederbaum said. “I think this is worse than the hurricane.”

In Milford, another member of the 3 feet of snow club, Mayor Ben Blake said their plows were unable to move the heavy piles of snow.

“This is a situation where we can’t plow the snow, an event unlike we’ve ever had before,” he told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones.

By midday, Blake told WCBS 880 reporter Paul Murnane that three quarters of Milford’s roads had seen at least one pass of a plow.

National Guardsmen with snow gear eventually arrived to clear and widen roads.

“We brought in an additional 16 heavy duty payloaders,” Blake said. “It’s one scoop at a time and a lot of it has to actually be moved to other locations, especially areas like the downtown. There’s no where to put the snow.”

Meriden police said they suspect carbon monoxide poisoning killed two people found inside a snow-covered car parked in a driveway.

The bodies of a 20-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman were found Sunday morning. Police told the Record-Journal of Meriden there were paths shoveled alongside the vehicle, but the rest of it was covered with snow and the windows were rolled up.

The victims’ names haven’t been released. Autopsies are planned. If their deaths are related to the blizzard, that would raise the number of storm-related deaths in the state to seven.

State police, meanwhile, have released the name of a 79-year-old Prospect woman killed by a hit-and-run driver while she was using her snow-blower Friday night. Troopers are still seeking the driver of the car that hit Mary McCormack.

For those that did venture out Monday, getting around the snow-covered streets was challenge.

Dawn Santos told WCBS 880 reporter Paul Murnane that she negotiated a combination of foot paths and short, shoveled stretches to get from Charles Street to Main in Bridgeport, where most stuck cars were moved from the middle of the street.

Like many others, she walked to work on rain-covered snow and ice.

Mike Lesendy had to get to work and his car was still snowed in.

“I’m shoveling a huge mound of snow that’s just everywhere. It’s just incredible how much snow was dumped in one shot,” he told 1010 WINS reporter Al Jones.

Officials said Monday’s rain could pose a hazard for some roofs carrying a lot of snow. Lots of snow topped with the freezing rain is not a good combination for buildings with flat roofs.

Phil Pavella, who runs a roofing business in Norwalk, said this scenario can be a problem for older houses or structures.

“The thing with flat roofs is on some of the old structures, wood structures, they’re not built to codes that they have today to carry the weight,” he told WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau.

He said it’s best to clear a space on the roof near the gutter while clearing the gutter as well, so that the melted snow has a place to run off.

But, if cold temperatures don’t allow the snow to melt, it’s best to call in a professional to remove all that weight on the roof.

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