City’s mayor issues warning about dangers of winter weather

It may have taken more than 70 days of winter before a snowstorm turned the Elm City from green to white this year, but just seven slippery days later, Mother Nature is back. And this time, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano is ready with advice.

As early as Thursday afternoon, the city’s 22 snowplows and salt trucks turned on their engines for what the city is calling the season’s “second snowstorm.” Though weather forecasters project only one to two inches of snow accumulation, emergency snow hot lines have been activated and a downtown parking ban was scheduled to begin at 1 a.m. Friday morning. It may not be the storm of American history — one of New Haven’s most intense icings came at the height of the Revolutionary War in 1779 when 11.5 feet hit the ground — but since residents haven’t seen a lot of snow this season, it may feel as burdensome as the blizzards of yesteryear, DeStefano said.

“It’s been a long time since we had a winter storm, so many residents are out of practice,” DeStefano said in a press release. “I want to remind people to use caution when driving, leave plenty of distance between your car and other drivers, and remember that snow banks can make it difficult to see children.”

For those living off campus, DeStefano requested full cooperation with Public Works crews trying to clear the roads. He also asked residents to steer clear from shoveling snow into the driveway.

But for leaders of snow-centric organizations on campus — in other words, Ria Harracksingh ’10, founder of the Facebook group “come poke snow with me!” — news of the impending storm evoked mixed emotions. Since she lives in the Caribbean island of Trinidad, where snow globes are actually filled with sand, Harracksingh said, she created the group in anticipation of the first snow of her life.

“That was before I realized that snow could hurt when you’re walking to physics and that it could be a sort of sleety hail,” she said.

“I’m excited, but I think if it’s not nice like last week, I will have a heart attack and go back home to the equator.”

She said five students left the group last semester, leaving 20 members, in protest of the scarcity of campus snowstorms this year.

—Andrew Mangino

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