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Towns Prepare, Schools Close as Storm Nears

The blizzard watch was upgraded to a blizzard warning as everyone tried to get ready.

On Thursday evening, the blizzard watch was upgraded to a blizzard warning, and everyone in Ellington and Somers got ready as the major storm approached. 

According to Weather.com, snow is supposed to being in the morning and then intensify as the day progresses. The heaviest of the snow is forecast for Friday night into Saturday morning.

On Thursday, grocery stores and gas stations were swamped as people attempted to prepare for the storm. Both the Ellington and Somers schools canceled classes for Friday, as did most schools in the area - including UConn and Manchester Community College.

A parking ban is in effect in Somers, the Somers Senior Center is closed, and there are no morning recreation classes. The Indian Valley Family YMCA in Ellington has canceled all group fitness classes and programs for Friday and Saturday.

The Somers Emergency Operations Center will open at 6 p.m. on Friday. If a resident has any concerns, they can call the EOC at 860-763-7063. Residents can also call the fire station at 860-749-7626 with any routine issue. For all emergencies, dial 911.

According to Somers Selectman Kathy Devlin, the storm is expected to drop over 36 inches of snow between Friday afternoon through late Saturday afternoon. She said they are requesting that all Somers residents remain in their homes until the snow and accompanying high winds subside. Should power outages occur, restoration will not take place until the storm has ended.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy issued a statement telling all non-essential state employees to stay home on Friday. Evening and midnight shift employees should report to work as normal on Friday, however.

“If the worst-case scenario plays out, we will need roads clear for emergency personnel and utility crews,” the statement read. “But even under the best of circumstances, it appears at this point that the best coarse of action is to keep people off the roads. Whether you’re a state employee or not, if you can stay home and off the roads tomorrow, please do so.”

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The Somers Fire Department reminded residents to charge all electronics, including cell phones, tablets, e-readers, MP3 players and laptops. It also suggested getting out the shovels and scrapers and making sure the snow blower is working.

Here are some suggestions of things to have on hand: 

• Flashlights, lanterns and plenty of back up batteries.
• Gasoline. Fill your car. And if you’re lucky enough to have a generator, make sure you have a back-up supply of gas to keep it running.
• Battery-operated radio
• Water. A gallon per person per day.
• Prescription medication. (Now is not the time to run out of your blood pressure pills.)
• Non-perishable foods: peanut butter, protein bars, canned fish and canned beans. Baby food and formula. 
• Pet food and supplies. (Make sure you have a manual can opener or choose containers with pull tops.)
• Cash (If debit and credit machines go down, your plastic is worthless.)
• Paper goods
• Battery-powered chargers for your cell phone.

The department also reminded residents to help out by clearing the snow away from hydrants that may be on or near their property. Residents are also reminded to use their generators safely in the event of a power outage.

The Red Cross has also issued a winter storm safety checklist (see PDF), as does a local man who wrote a blog on how to prepare for a storm. A local chiropractor has some tips on how to prevent injury while shoveling. The March of Dimes also wrote a blog with tips for pregnant women and new parents.

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