DESPP Issues Snow And Ice Accumulation Caution

Connecticut municipal CEOs and Emergency Management Directors received a Snow and Ice Accumulation Caution Notice last week from the CT Dept of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP). The Town of Newtown forwarded the information to residents with a February 21 posting on the town website.

Current weather models were forecasting an active storm pattern which is expected to continue for the next few weeks, said the state department. For the weekend, temperatures were above normal for this time of year, which caused some limited melting of the deep snowpack.

“This will likely be offset by around ¼” to ½” of rain that may add some additional weight to existing roofs,” the DESPP notice continued. “Any thunderstorms that may occur later this week could potentially bring a quick inch of rainfall to parts of the state.”

It is highly recommended that caution be exercised, the notice cautioned. Roof and deck loads, especially on flat roofs, common on state and municipal buildings, as well as agricultural facilities, should be monitored closely and cleared of ice and snow accumulation by appropriate personnel.

Residents with concerns about their roof snow and ice loads can contact the Building Department; Newtown’s Building Department can be reached at 203-270-4260. In case of an emergency, they can their local fire department. If unsure, the Office of the First Selectman can be reached at 203-270-4201 and the Emergency Management/Fire Marshal’s office can be reached at 203-270-4370.

If there is a life safety emergency, call 911.

Connecticut’s free information and referral service is available by calling 211 or visiting www.211ct.org.

Residents can check the town’s website (www.newtown-ct.gov) for news and announcements, and can also sign up to have updates sent to them automatically.

Recent History Of Collapses 

In late December 2010 and throughout January 2011, a series of heavy snowstorms produced the most snow that had fallen locally during such a short span, resulting in more roof collapses due to the weight of accumulated than had occurred in the past. A two-day storm that left Newtown covered in 27 inches of snow was a large part of the problem that year.

The collapse of three large buildings used for the storage of construction materials at the 22-acre BlueLinx facility at 201 South Main Street was among the most notable collapses that season.

A number of private buildings and other companies were also affected that winter when more than a dozen buildings buckled and then due to the weight of snow building up. A two-story barn on Boggs Hill Road, another two-story barn on Hundred Acres Road, and one of three barns on private property on Pole Bridge Road all succumbed to the weight of that winter.

The state-owned former residence at 121 Wasserman Way began buckling, and was eventually razed before it completely fell in on itself. The greenhouse of the former Lexington Gardens also collapsed, as did a storage shed used by Housatonic Railroad in Hawleyville.

Three residential garages and at least one porch attached to a residence all collapsed that year.

The gazebo at The Pleasance, the public garden at 1 Main Street owned and maintained by The Bee Publishing Co. (publishers of The Newtown Bee), collapsed.

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