Fairfield preps for blizzard: Town offices, schools to close
FAIRFIELD — Last Friday’s snow storm was a cake walk compared to what is expected to hit the state Tuesday, with a blizzard watch in effect for the coast, school already called off, and predictions of upwards of 20 inches of snow.
Approaching the Public Work yard on Veres Street, the sounds of the preparations under way could be heard, the beeping of the trucks’ back up alarms almost a constant. Inside, Public Works Superintendent Scott Bartlett was busy going over route maps for contractors and checking weather updates on the computer.
“As far as materials go, we’re in good shape,” Bartlett said, adding he ordered additional salt and liquid pretreatment last week. It arrived Monday morning and all the main roads were pretreated, the white coating a telltale giveaway.
Bartlett said he also rented a few extra bucket loaders to have on hand. They could be particularly helpful if the snow comes down as fast as predicted, he said, in helping to clear the streets.
Around 5:30 p.m. on Monday, First Selectman Mike Tetreau announced town offices would be closed on Tuesday. Similarly, the superintendent of schools tweeted late Monday afternoon that Tuesday would be a snow day.
“We’re expecting 18 to 24 inches,” Tetreau said. “The storm will be at its peak at 9 a.m., and coming down about two to three inches an hour. That’s faster than we can clean it up.”
The Board of Education’s special meeting scheduled for Tuesday, which included a hearing on the racial imbalance plan, has been rescheduled to Thursday at 6:45 p.m in the Roger Ludlowe Middle School auditorium.
Also victim to the storm is the joint Board of Finance/Board of Selectmen budget hearing. The departments scheduled to appear at Tuesday’s meeting have been moved to March 23 at 7:30 in the Board of Education conference room. The Health, Human and Social Services, Fire, and Police departments will be heard directly before the finance board’s final deliberations.
Tetreau said the Emergency Operations Center will be partially staffed and the material needed for the town’s emergency shelter at Fairfield Ludlowe High School were being put in place Monday. A decision on opening the shelter will be made depending on the number of residents without power, Tetreau said.
He said the EOC management team met Monday morning to talk through the storm preparation and Fire Chief Denis McCarthy, the emergency management director, will take part in a conference call with the governor’s office. “We will probably send out a Code Red message for residents after that,” Tetreau said.
Tetreau said only minor flooding is expected along the shoreline, adding the town will probably recommend that beach residents move their vehicles to higher ground.
The state has activated and extended its severe weather protocol through Thursday. Anyone needed shelter or a warming center can call 211 for help.