Cities and towns on alert for potential winter storm - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Cities and towns on alert for potential winter storm

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EAST HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

City and town leaders are preparing for a potential blast of winter weather this weekend.

For the town of East Hartford, salt won't be found in its plow trucks yet. Officials said it'll be loaded onto the trucks closer to storm time.

They said the reason is that the particular salt can damage the equipment and begin to cake.

The town has nearly 30,000 tons of salt at its disposal. Only about 5,000 tons have been used so far for this mild winter.

The slow start to winter has allowed younger plow drivers to learn snow removal techniques from the veterans. 

Luis Castro, a first year plow driver, said he's excited for his first major snowfall.

"Hopefully I can get some experience out of it that's what I'm hoping for really, it's my first big storm."

East Hartford's equipment got a touch up while public works crews watched the forecast. Castro added some finishing touches of orange paint to his plow blade.

"We have some weather services," said Tim Bockus, director of East Hartford's Public Works Department. "They're telling us that the snowfall gradients are pretty steep right now, which tells us that it doesn't take much to shift the amount of snow that we're going to get."

"It seems kind of iffy at the moment," said Robert Gompper, a plow driver. "Of course we're hoping for the most, it's good for us."

Along the shoreline, where the most snow is expected, crews are anxious for this weekend. 

In New Haven, Thursday was mixing day. Public works crews mixed salt brine to treat the roads.

"We've been preparing for this essentially since September," said Rick Fontana of New Haven emergency operations.

That work could soon be tested with the shoreline facing the brunt of what could be a powerful snowstorm on Saturday.

The winter has been mild so far, which has been favorable for crews in the Elm City.

"Budget, wear and tear on the fleet and the guys are well-rested, ready to go," said Joe Pescosolido, Department of Public Works.

Pescosolido said plow trucks were loaded with salt and sand on Thursday.

Crews then spent time taking a last look at plow routes and the forecast.

"While we have 22 trucks in 22 areas, we'll also bring in some outside contractors to make sure the arterials, posted snow routes, are continually gone through," Fontana said.

New this year, a bevy of blue lights. The city has 20 of them to let drivers know there is an active parking ban. That way, streets can be clear of cars and cleaned by plows.

East Haven officials said they will begin pre-treating the roads on Friday.

In Bridgeport, emergency officials said they're meeting on Thursday at 1 p.m. to discuss storm preparations.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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