Snowfall hit record levels in Connecticut, with more than two-feet accumulating at a rate of more than three inches an hour at the height of this weekend's blizzard. And when it came time to clear the roads, that was the start of the problem.
Normally towns try to plow in stages but snow fell so fast that town snow plows struggled to keep up with it. East Lyme First Selectman Paul Formica said that public works' drivers were getting disoriented during the white-out and often couldn't see where they were going or couldn't say for sure where they had been.
Then there were the diversions. When Connecticut Light & Power line crews arrived on Saturday, East Lyme redirected two snow plows to accompany the crews to clear roads where power lines were down. East Lyme Police also had to call upon plows to help them reach residents who were snowbound and needed transportation to the Red Cross Regional Emergency Shelter at East Lyme Middle School.
Then there was the snow itself. Everyone who shoveled out this weekend knows that the snow was wet, heavy, and it didn't take much pressure for it to become compacted to hard ice. Most snow plows are not made to deal with such deep and heavy snow, and as more people freed themselves and hit the road, streets rapidly turned into ice rinks.
Town snow plows got stuck in deep snow, others found their plows buckling under the weight of the snow. Old Lyme contracted with private companies to forge ahead with payloaders and backhoes to pave the way for town plows.
East Lyme and Old Lyme both contacted the state to request assistance. But, Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder said, "we're not holding our breath." When she talked to Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy at midday on Sunday, he was on I-91 and it was down to just one lane of traffic.
Lyme managed to clear most of the main roads, but people with long driveways were on their own, as were communities in Old Lyme and East Lyme that have private roads. As few contractors have the heavy equipment needed to deal with the record snow levels, many of these roads remain snowbound.
The towns of East Lyme, Old Lyme, and Lyme are aware of the problem and are tackling it road by road. In East Lyme, town trucks are beginning to plow back the many snow banks created by the first few sweeps of the plow along main roads. In the meantime, they're asking people to be patient and please, drive carefully.