Crews worked Thursday afternoon to return power to the last 309 of over 3,000 city households that lost electricity — mostly in Wooster Square and Upper Westville — after Storm Elsa hurled “snowballs” on New Haven.
That was the latest update from a noon briefing at the New Haven Emergency Operations Center.
The sun and above-40-degree temperatures were helping the city dig out from a storm that dumped 8-10 inches of heavy snow.
The streets were largely cleared by morning. The big problem came from downed trees and electrical wires.
The most damage occurred between 5 and 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, when wind gusts reached 33 miles per hour and several inches on snow fell, Fontana said.
“We had thunder snow. We had thunder-bomb snowballs. We had … blizzard conditions,” Fontana said. “Pieces of a snowman” fell from the sky.
By 8 p.m., it was so hard to see or maneuver on roads that officials had cops double up to rely on fewer cars, Fontana reported.
“It was so bad without four-wheel drive,” he said. “The regular vehicles couldn’t make it.”
By 1 a.m., 3,160 city households had no electricity. The biggest hit came in the Wooster Square/Grand Avenue area, thanks to downed wires from fallen trees.
By noon, Wooster Square and the Fountain Street stretch of Upper Westville had the most customers still without power.
“Our goal is to get both of those up and running by the end of business today,” Fontana reported.
The ban on parking on the odd side of residential streets remains in effect through 8 a.m. Friday.
“We’ve learned through communications with our Board of Alders and our residents that [when] we’ve stopped the parking ban in the residential areas, then our Department of Public Works can’t get in and get the streets clear, because people have moved back in and parked their cars,” Fontana said.
Parking is also banned through Friday morning on posted snow emergency routes and with 25 feet of parking hydrants.
The downtown parking ban has been lifted. Fontana said crews are working hard to have the area ready to host Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Officials ended up closing schools Thursday not because of snow on the streets, but because of low-hanging electrical wires.
“We could not risk those buses hitting a low wire and godforbid something happening,” Fontana said.