When it Snows in October, Life Becomes Altered
As someone who loves snow, seeing it fall on Saturday made my day. Until of course, the night fell, then it got ugly. As the snow piled up, well over a foot of it, so too did the weight of it on the trees knocking out power to all of Litchfield County. I suddenly regretted loving the snow so much sitting in a cold, dark house all to myself wondering what was happening around me. Was this the only area of town? Was there a car accident that knocked out a power line? So many questions ran through my head.
As the night progressed, it became colder. With no heat and no relief in sight, I turned to my phone to see what was happening. No service is exactly what was happening. The town was down completely and without any connection to the outside world. When you don’t know what’s going on around you, you don’t know how scary that is.
As the sun came up, we saw what the snow delivered. Nearly 17 inches of that white stuff fell from the sky, and a look down the road told me exactly what happened to my power. There were trees down everywhere along with numerous power lines. Saying Torrington was a mess is an understatement. It was a plain old disaster. I shoveled the car out and took it out around town in hopes to find hot food and a hot cup of coffee. Nothing. Not a single place in town was open. Everyone was without power, and everyone was flat out cold.
As I continued to venture out, I drove north to Winsted in hopes to find something open up there. Nada. Just more trees and more closed businesses. It was back to Torrington for me.
So, without power and running water, what was I to do? I decided to park the car and stroll through downtown and start snapping some pictures which you could see below. It was amazing. Trees were down in Coe Memorial Park and around city hall. In my 25 years on this earth, I’ve never seen snow do so much damage, let alone disconnect an entire town from civilization.
I was able to get a hold of my friends who live up by the Litchfield line. It’s always important to check up on friends. They were okay, and without power too. Seemed like the normal, until I got to their house. The road to it was barricaded by downed trees and power lines with no way out. Talk about being trapped.
I spent the night with them since my house was much too cold for me to stay. I was concerned about my mother down in Waterbury but had no service still to connect with her. My friends prepaid phone surprisingly had service and I was able to call out to her finally. She was okay but like us was without power as well.
Hearing the reports on the radio, WZBG, we had found out that all 3 electrical stations to northwestern Connecticut had been knocked out. We were essentially even more remote than we already are.
As the night fell, it only got colder. According to weather reports, it was getting down into the teens, and with fresh snow on the ground, it would feel every bit of it. We started to light some candles and get under as many blankets as possible to keep warm. We could see our breaths. That wasn’t a good thing. We fell asleep early after having a few glasses of wine to keep ourselves warm. It certainly did the trick, for the time.
Shortly after midnight, it got colder, and even under all the blankets, you could feel it. I’m sure we had all hoped the sun would come up soon to warm us. It was one of the longest nights I could remember, but we were riding it out together.
When we woke up, the sun was like heaven, though we could still see our breaths. We warmed up with some hot cocoa boiled from the stove, though we were running low on that so it was time for us to run out to a store. We heard that Target was open on generator. We’ll take what we can get. As we went into Target, it was even cold in there and without many lights at all. In fact, you needed a flashlight to really walk through. We got what we needed and headed back up to the house where I had to depart to go check on my mother south of the county.
As I made my way down to Waterbury, I noticed lower snow accumulations, that’s usually a good thing meaning less of an impact. I had hoped she would have power. After all, I finally found a Dunkin Donuts that was open for business in Wolcott. It was now Monday and after two days without coffee, I needed it. I picked my mom up a coffee and stopped by the house which was still powerless and quite cold. Even worse, today was Halloween, and it’s also her birthday. Some birthday gift. All plans I had now had to be put on hold for a later time.
Returning to Torrington later in the day, I still had no power at home. We were on night three of no heat, no running water, and still no cell phone service. Three nights of darkness. Enough was enough. I could deal with this during the summer, but in the dead of winter? It’s just too much. I was feeling primitive as I grew a beard and was already on my third day of not showering. With still no cell phone service, I sat in the dark at home with just a few candles lit fortunate enough to be able to access my Facebook thanks to a weak Internet connection. It was my only source of connection to the outside world.
As the sun rose Tuesday morning, so too did my spirits of power. Still nothing. I made my way to Scarpelli’s for a hot breakfast, and when I arrived I saw much of the town had the same idea. It was a packed house with everyone looking for a hot meal, though a sense of community was formed as total strangers were willing to sit with each other that way everyone was able to eat.
When I arrived home, I had my doubts about the power still but I tried it just the same. Lights. What was this? The lights actually turned on! Here I was now on day four saying every prayer possible and thanking those that have come to restore my power. The feeling of heat through my house never felt so good, and so too did a hot shower and a good old fashion shave.
I learned a lot from this week. I learned that we cannot rely heavily on modern technology for starters. I felt trapped. Cut off from the modern world. I owe an extreme gratitude of thanks to those over at WZBG in Litchfield who broadcasted through it all and kept us all updated on the radio. Without them, we would have certainly been even more in the dark than we already were.
For those of you still in the dark here in the Litchfield Hills, you’re in my thoughts. It’s been rough, and I couldn’t imagine going one day longer. I hope everyone continues to be strong through it all. We’ll get through this.