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October Snowstorm: Patch Takes a Look Back as the Anniversary Approaches

It was an extraordinary time for Ellington and Somers — some of the hardest-hit areas and some of the last to get power again. Please share your memories as we share ours.

It was our own personal taste of "Revolution," the television show about what happens when the world loses power. We lived it — some of us for two weeks — after a devastating Oct. 29 snowstorm that felled century-old trees and changed the landscape of our towns.

The start was deceptively quiet: fat flakes of snow falling on trees that still had full canopies of leaves. We knew from weather reports that it could be a dangerous storm with lots of power outages, but we were all shocked by the rifle-shot cracks echoing through the night as giant limbs and trees pulled power lines down all around us and transformers exploded and sent sparks into the sky.

What we didn't know when we woke up Sunday morning, just a day before Halloween, was that most of us wouldn't have a Halloween. Most of us wouldn't see power again until a week or more later as CL&P crews struggled to reconnect the 800,000 customers who lost power in the state.

Over the next two weeks, Patch editors saw the elderly and the disabled being ushered into shelters and high schools. We saw state and town officials grow increasingly angry with the answers from CL&P officials as to why the restoration process was taking so long. We saw people throwing out giant garbage bags full of spoiled food and waiting in two-hour lines at Starbucks for a chance to recharge their phones.

But we also saw remarkable kindness. We saw neighbors setting up tables in the middle of closed streets to have pot lucks so that food wouldn't go to waste. We saw power lines stretched across yards so that a neighbor with a generator could run refrigerators for as many houses as possible. We saw students volunteering at shelters and strangers sharing whatever warmth and comfort they could provide.

Patch was fairly new to our towns back in the fall of 2011, but many people discovered us during that time as our local editors camped out in emergency operations centers and became conduits for important town news and information.

Over the next week, we'll share our stories and photos and personal memories, but we want to hear yours as well. You can add them to our Pics & Clips gallery for our anniversary day story. You can add comments to this story or to our posts on the Ellington-Somers Patch's Facebook page about your own personal experiences and how your thinking about power might be different today than it was a year ago.

Patch is your community platform and your stories matter. So tell us how you survived "Snowtober" as we take a look back at an exceptional time in our lives.

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