Blizzard of 2013: Weston is blanketed by epic snowstorm

Jake Derene, Andrew Weinbrum, Scott Derene, David Miller, and AJ Derene proved that playing in the snow is far more fun than shoveling it. —Randi Durene

The Blizzard of 2013 may have socked Weston with plenty of snow, but with no major power outages, and only one accident on the roads, the town fared pretty well.

Weston received upwards of two feet of snow during the blizzard, which affected the entire Northeast. The storm lasted little more than one day, with most of the snow falling on Friday, Feb. 8, into early Saturday.

During the storm’s peak, more than 39,000 power outages in the state were reported by Connecticut Light and Power. In Weston, no power outages were reported during the storm. However, on Saturday, Feb. 9, 44 CL&P customers lost their power after a tree fell across Broad Street taking down two telephone poles, utility wires, and a traffic light on Weston Road.

From left, members of the Weston High School football team Daniel Santa-Maria, Michael Santa-Maria, Tyler Hassett, and Alex Crowell helped a neighbor dig out of her driveway. —Contributed by Wendy Petty

There was one storm-related accident in Weston. On Friday evening, a pick-up truck slid off the road into a ditch on Davis Hill Road. The Weston Volunteer Fire Department and police responded to the accident. No injuries were reported.

Weston Communications Center Director John Ojarovsky said “it was very quiet” in Weston during the storm.

Police Chief John Troxell said it helped that there were not a lot of people on the roads.

The storm, which was called “Nemo” by The Weather Channel, was officially declared a blizzard by the National Weather Service (NWS). To qualify as a blizzard, falling or blowing snow must “reduce visibility below 1/4-mile along with winds that gust to 35 mph or more,” according to the NWS. Those conditions must last for at least three consecutive hours.

Closings and cancellations

Weston public schools were closed on Friday in anticipation of the storm, which forecasters had predicted would be severe. All school activities were canceled over the weekend, and the schools re-opened Monday after a two-hour delay from sleet and freezing rain.

Sports at Weston High School were also canceled on Monday and Tuesday because the games involved teams from Stratford and Milford, where the towns were still digging out from snow.

Weston’s Speak Up event, scheduled for Saturday, was canceled (rescheduled to Saturday, Feb. 23), along with the Meet John Adams event, which had been scheduled for Sunday at the library.

Governor’s actions

At 4 p.m. on Friday, Gov. Dannel Malloy banned motor vehicle travel on limited access highways in the state. He lifted the ban on Saturday, at 4 p.m., but urged residents to stay off the roads to let crews clear the roadways.

With a new forecast calling for sleet and freezing rain on Monday, the governor asked all nonessential state employees to stay home.

Cars at the Weston Volunteer Fire Department on Lyons Plain Road may have been buried in snow, but an engine was ready, equipped with chains, in case it was needed for calls. —Stephan Grozinger photo

In the wake of Friday’s historic winter storm, Gov. Malloy submitted a request for a presidential emergency declaration. On Monday, President Obama approved the declaration, which will provide direct federal assistance, including possible snow removal equipment and personnel, power generation, and other commodities.

The declaration also provides federal disaster funding for 75% of the cost of emergency protective measures incurred by municipalities, state agencies, and eligible non- profits for a 48-hour period.

First Selectman Gayle Weinstein praised the efforts of the town’s road crews, saying their hard work resulted in roads that were cleared faster and better than most in surrounding communities.

“The Weston Department of Public Works did such an awesome job,” Ms. Weinstein said. “Our guys were out there plowing and treating the roads through the whole night on Friday, trying to keep ahead of the storm, and their strategy worked.”

The fact that nearly all residents heeded the call to remain off the roads throughout the storm — and even after snow stopped falling on Saturday — made it much easier for highway crews to get roads cleared more quickly and virtually without incident, Ms. Weinstein said.

The President’s emergency declaration paves the way for federal funding to cover some of the snow removal costs incurred by the state and municipalities, she said.

Ms. Weinstein said the town is keeping track of its expenses from the storm, but as of earlier this week, she had not heard any specifics about possible reimbursement.

She said the town was prepared to open its emergency operations center and implement emergency plans, but because so few people lost power, there was no need to do so.

There’s no business like snow business for Weston’s dogs:

The Peyreigne family’s “pile of puppies” — Siberian huskies Apollo, Athena and Zeus — enjoyed a tumble in the snow. —Betsy Peyreigne photo

Izzy is not quite certain what to make of all the white stuff. —Christine Fulton photo

Shorty loves playing in the snow — but not as much as he loves sleeping in it. —Candace Halpern

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