Freak autumn snowstorm wallops the region
By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Region - posted Wed., Nov. 2, 2011
A freak autumn snowstorm on Oct. 29 blanketed the region in up to 20 inches of snow, wreaking havoc a mere two months after Irene thrashed through the region. Early reports put the number of outages in Connecticut at the highest number ever recorded, with more than 800,000 residents reporting a loss of power. The National Weather Service called the storm the worst October snow storm in New England history.
With numerous gas stations losing power, long lines formed at stations with functioning pumps; delays in delivery combined with increased demand caused many stations to run out of fuel. Many communities, faced with dark streets and downed wires, postponed or cancelled Halloween celebrations.
In Windham, however, it was business as usual, as police shut down Main Street for the annual Trick-or-Treat on Main Street event. The event, which was initially cancelled for this year after local businesses showed a lack of interest, was resuscitated by local business owner Lynn Duval. On Halloween night, Main Street Willimantic was alight with the blue and red lights of police cars and the brightly-lit storefronts of businesses lucky enough to have electricity.
Some communities immediately called off school for the entire first week of November. Others took a wait-and-see attitude, cancelling classes a day at a time until they had a better sense of when power would be restored. Mansfield, for example, had opened Mansfield Middle School, Annie E. Vinton School, Dorothy C. Goodwin School, and Southeast Elementary School by Tuesday, Nov. 1, saying that power had been restored and streets were safe for bus travel. E.O. Smith High School, on the other hand, was scheduled to remain closed on Nov. 1.
Connecticut Light and Power issued a power-restoration schedule for many Connecticut towns. According to the CL and P website, by Tuesday, Nov. 1, 99 percent of Hampton had already been restored, as had 99 percent of Scotland. Windham was looking at full restoration by Tuesday evening. Mansfield and Chaplin, on the other hand, were not expected to be fully restored until Sunday, Nov. 6.