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After more than a foot of snow blankets parts of CT, people celebrate a winter wonderland

Families stop for a coco break during a morning snowfall at Elizabeth Park Sunrise Overlook in West Hartford, Connecticut February 13, 2024.
Joe Amon
/
Connecticut Public
Families stop for a coco break during a morning snowfall at Elizabeth Park Sunrise Overlook in West Hartford, Connecticut February 13, 2024.

A fast-moving winter storm brought a wide mix of snowfall totals to Connecticut Tuesday.

Some parts of the state saw more than a foot of snow. More than 15 inches of snow fell in parts of Farmington and West Hartford, according to the National Weather Service.

East Windsor, Vernon and Bristol were blanketed with foot or more, the agency reports. Portions of Fairfield County recorded upwards of 10 to 13 inches.

In Middlesex and New Haven counties, about a foot of snow fell, while New London County saw more modest totals — between 2 to 7 inches.

Power outages during the storm were minimal, but many schools were closed and various businesses shut down for the day. So children — and adults — headed outdoors to enjoy the mounds of powdery, fluffy snow.

Flights were canceled or delayed at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks and Tweed New Haven Airport. Snow started later than expected overnight Monday and continued throughout the day Tuesday.

Oscar Quijada, owner of Rivera Brother’s Landscaping in Bloomfield, began working early Tuesday morning to clear snow and spread salt at properties across Hartford County. This is the first large snowstorm his business has seen in a while, he said.

“This year has been warmer. I think it has to do with climate change. Twelve to 15 [years] ago, we often saw more storms, 10-to-12 inches," he said.

"It makes me feel important, because I can help people go out to work. And there's also a lot of other essential workers that need to go out in the snowstorms," Quijada said.

The state's Department of Transportation asked Connecticut residents to stay home as hundreds of crews worked to clear the roads. Gov. Ned Lamont banned tandem tractor trailers and empty trailers from the state's highways, but that ban was lifted early Tuesday afternoon.

Cars turn around on Rt 185 after not being able to climb the hill at the base of Talcott Mountain during a morning snowfall in Simsbury, Connecticut February 13, 2024.
Joe Amon
/
Connecticut Public
Cars turn around on Rt 185 after not being able to climb the hill at the base of Talcott Mountain during a morning snowfall in Simsbury, Connecticut February 13, 2024.

DOT spokesperson Josh Morgan said Tuesday morning there were more than 600 hundred plows out on the roads, but cautioned there was only so much they could do.

"With the high rate of snowfall this morning, the roads are becoming covered almost immediately after we do a pass with our plows," Morgan said.

Children, college students enjoy a snow day

Ava DeSantis and her friends yelled as they sled down the snow-covered hill behind Mathewson Elementary School in Milford.

She went down again and again, for good reason.

“This is probably the only big snow day we'll get because it's getting warmer quicker now,” DeSantis said.

Her mother, Elissa Brown and her fiancee Stephen Roth, also spent their day alternately making snowballs and sledding as their dog paced around.

In Trumbull, Gigi Begin made snowballs with her friends. She said she loves the snow so much she went out multiple times.

“The first time we went out without gloves and I felt like I was getting hypothermia," she joked.

Asked why she chose not to wear gloves, her response was simple.

“I’m Canadian, I’m built different.”

In Columbia, Susan Smith was spending the day with her three children, ages 14, 11 and 8, at her home because schools were closed. She said she likes traditional snow days off, but would also like to see remote learning on some bad weather days.

“But I still remember being a kid and really looking forward to snow days, so I don’t want to completely wipe that off the map with remote learning,” Smith said.

10 year old Lorelai Heaton fashioning a bow for her snow woman Lila during a morning snowfall in Simsbury, Connecticut February 13, 2024.
Joe Amon
/
Connecticut Public
10 year old Lorelai Heaton fashioning a bow for her snow woman Lila during a morning snowfall in Simsbury, Connecticut February 13, 2024.

At Connecticut College in New London, many students used the day to sleep in, while others rushed outside to take in the winter wonderland.

Andrew Jordan was taken aback when he saw snow for the first time in his life. He said he rushed his way outside after a video call with his family.

“I'm from Los Angeles; we don’t get snow days ever,” he said. “And that’s one of the big reasons I was looking forward to coming here. I woke up at 11 a.m. because I didn’t have classes to go to. I looked out the window and I saw a lot of snow and freaked out.”

The campus was packed with students building snowmen and getting into snowball fights.

And instead of hitting the books, some students used their unexpected February snow day to hit the slopes.

Jess Pistorino, a freshman, thought the campus quad would be a great place to train her friend to ski for the first time.

“We thought it would be fun if Nicole (the friend), since she’s never been ... hit the slopes here at Temple Green,” Pistorino said.

'Prioritizing safety'

Hartford Public Schools was just one of many systems that called off Tuesday's classes.

The cancellation makes for an abbreviated week, ahead of an upcoming school break, Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez said.

"This is already a shorter week for us in Hartford Public Schools," she said. "Friday is actually a professional development day, so our students will not be in school on Friday. Next week is our winter break. So, while this might pose some interruptions for families, really we are collectively prioritizing safety."

All state office buildings were closed on Tuesday due to the storm, according to Lamont's office.

Wednesday's weather

Wednesday is expected to be cold and dry with highs in the upper 20s to low 30s.

A winter wallop: How much snow CT got

Here’s a look at how much snow fell in various cities across Connecticut as of Tuesday afternoon via the National Weather Service:

Hartford County
Farmington: 15.5 inches
West Hartford: 15 inches
Bristol: 12 inches
Southington: 11 inches
Simsbury: 9 inches
East Hartford: 7.5 inches
Bradley International Airport: 1.1 inches

Tolland County
Tolland: 12.5 inches
Coventry: 11.5 inches
Columbia: 5 inches

Windham County
Ashford: 12 inches
Willimantic: 8.5 inches

Fairfield County
Newtown: 13 inches
Bethel: 11.8 inches
New Canaan: 9 inches
Bridgeport Airport: 7.6 inches
Greenwich: 7 inches
Norwalk: 6 inches

Middlesex County
Cromwell: 11.5 inches
Durham: 3.5 inches

New Haven County
Waterbury: 12.5 inches
New Haven: 8 inches
North Haven: 8 inches
Guilford: 5.5 inches

New London County
Norwich: 7.5 inches
New London: 6 inches
Griswold: 4 inches

A winter wallop in 1899, too

Tuesday’s storm comes roughly 125 years after “The Great Arctic Outbreak and East Coast Blizzard” of 1899, which dumped up to 2 feet of snow in southern New England and blasted much of the United States with extreme cold, with temperatures dipping below zero all the way to parts of Florida.

This story has been updated. Connecticut Public's Matt Dwyer, Jeni Ahrens, Eddy Martinez, Maricarmen Cajahuaringa, Terell Wright, Lori Mack, Patrick Skahill, Eric Aasen and The Associated Press contributed to this report.