10 Years Later: Simsbury Remembers October Snowstorm

NBC Connecticut

Mention the October snowstorm and most everyone in Simsbury has their storm story.

“I had just moved here actually. It was my first winter in Connecticut,” said Thomas Mach, who experienced a not very warm welcome to our state.

His home lost power for 12 days.

“I remember going to the YMCA to take a shower,” he said.

With fall foliage still showing off its colors, trees still heavy with leaves toppled and more than 800,000 customers lost power, like Mach and Melissa Lechak.

“I was in my pajamas with the kids, two kids, my husband was out of town. I called him to say a tree fell down in the street, we were covered with snow and would he please pick up supplies on the way home and he said, 'Sure honey' and he came home with nothing because he thought I was exaggerating.”

The storm’s a time the town’s department of public works director Tom Roy will never forget.

“Everybody always talks about how they heard the trees falling and breaking through the night as they were sleeping. All of our crews were out working nonstop through that event, really putting themselves at risk trying to protect residents of Simsbury," Roy said.

As for clean-up, he says 195,000 cubic yards of brush and debris were picked up from the storm just in Simsbury alone.

The director says that’s equivalent to 50,000 pickup trucks filled to the brim.

“We expected to have a few trees down, but in no way was anyone prepared for the absolute chaos that we actually saw during that storm,” said Roy.

First Alert meteorologists Bob Maxon and Ryan Hanrahan reminisce about what it was like to forecast the October 2011 snowstorm.

The storm changed how local cities and towns prepared for storms and Eversource too, which was then Connecticut Light and Power.

“At Eversource, we’ve learned a lot. We’ve learned so much since that particular storm,” said longtime Eversource spokesperson Mitch Gross, who was working in the same capacity ten years ago.

He said since that 2011 storm, systems have been updated and communications and preparation procedures, too. Now, there’s a team dedicated to clearing blocked roads.

“Following every storm, you learn a little more, you tweak a procedure here, or the way you approach something there,” said Gross.

The storm will forever go down in Welden Hardware history.

NBC Connecticut

“Building chainsaws, like it was all day long. Generators were flying out of here, gas cans. It was just insane,” manager Scott Guzzoplum remembers.

“We were here with no power, but still helping out customers for 10 days,” said owner Melissa Brett. “We were literally lining up chainsaws and people were like, ‘Can I buy that, can I buy that?’”

When a historic snowstorm hit Connecticut in October 2011, then Gov. Dannel Malloy was at the helm. He spoke with NBC Connecticut's Dan Corcoran about what it was like.

The Simsbury store says for those who experienced the storm, they’ll forever be more prepared for Mother Nature.

But for folks who are new to Simsbury, “And they’re like, ‘Was that a big deal?’ And those of us who lived through it, we kind of chuckle and say, ‘Well let me tell you stories,’ and we go on and on,” said Brett laughing.

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