An Open Weather Window

Ellington and Tolland students pitch in to clear snow, Vernon finds some funds for removal, and Target closes for roof issues.

Looks like Mother Nature is giving residents of north central Connecticut a weather window to get some more snow removal accomplished. 

After some periods or rain Saturday night and patchy fog in the wee hours of the morning, gusts of up to 25 miles per hour should push the clouds out of the area and let the sunshine in on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. Daytime temperatures are forecast to be about 37ºF, which could help melt some of the ice built up in gutters.

Some snow could roll into the area on Monday and Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said residents, business owners, municipalities and school systems should take advantage of the sunshine Sunday and get in another round of cleaning. 

"It is absolutely imperative that people get out there and get the snow off of their homes and businesses," Malloy said in a news release Saturday.

"Homeowners and municipalities have to be aggressive about protecting their structures... Boards of Education and other municipalities should take a very proactive stance and not wait until there is a problem, rather have crews clearing snow to avoid the worst case," the governor said.

In Tolland, the National Guard, assisted by members of town crews, worked to quickly remove snow from the and middle school on Friday. Excess snow loads had reached at or near capacity levels on rooftops, and a civil engineer said immediate action needed to be taken. Town residents loaned snow-removal equipment, bringing cases of water, and in some cases, meals.

On Sunday, residents continued to volunteer their services, pitching in with shovels to remove snow from the . Even Principal Walter Willett, PhD helped to work on the roof, according to Public Safety Officer Mark Morrison. "The principal said if they don't get it done today, they will have tomorrow," he said.

On Saturday, three Ellington High School seniors did their part to help out their school district.  Good friends Kelly Stauffer, Megan Squadrito and Emily Rancourt climbed atop the school roof to shovel snow. They were joined by other students, members of the maintenance staff, Superintendent of Schools Steve Cullinan, Principal Neil Rinaldi, Vice Principal Dan Uriano and other volunteers. 

"I had two awesome people to go with, so I decided to go, and it turned out to be really fun," Squadrito said. "All the volunteers were really happy to see us helping out since they didn't get many people to help out."

Stauffer said, "It's my school … and this shoveling has to get done. I'm not the kind of person to wonder if something gets done or not. I'm the kind of person who gets out there and makes sure it gets done. I like making a difference in the end."

She added, "As a senior, I wanted to be a leader and show everyone that students can help."

In Vernon, Mayor Jason McCoy and the town council held an emergency meeting today at the Public Safety Building and the council unanimously approved a $90,000 budget amendment request by the administration to cover the cost of snow removal from the roofs of the school buildings. The council applauded the efforts taken by town staff members and  the many volunteers who helped remove the snow.  

Most towns have been recruiting volunteers all week to help clear off school roofs. Malloy said that the National Guard should not be counted on to help, and it could assist only in cases of true emergency. 

Another major business closed for roof-related issues - and it is a newer building. Target in the Buckland Hills shopping district on the Manchester-South Windsor line, said in a recorded message that is was closed tonight for "inclement weather." The South Windsor Fire Department said store officials closed the building out of concern for accumulating ice and snow.

Tolland Patch Editor Renee Canada contributed to this article.


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