At least eight hours of blizzard conditions dumped more than a foot-and-a-half of snow in Norwich on Saturday and now people in that city are digging out.
The sounds of scraping echo across Norwich as people take shovels to sidewalks downtown.
“A lot of people with snowblowers, plows. Everybody’s starting to unbury,” Christine Fowler, of Norwich, said.
Fowler came out of her downtown home Sunday morning to find streets buried.
“Lots of snow, up to my waist almost!” she said.
She ventured through those icy mountains to do essential work.
“I work at a nursing home, and my co-worker’s picking me up,” she said. “People rely on us. We have to go. People have to be taken care of.”
After the Norwich area got 21 to 22 inches of snow in Saturday’s winter storm, several cars on Broadway were completely submerged.
Next to those buried cars, there is a warm oasis at El Rancho Tropical.
“This morning, I come to work at 6:30, and round and round. Because all the parking has a lot of snow,” Maria Rosas, an employee, said.
Employees waded through snow to get to work because this weekend it is one of the few restaurants open. Saturday as snow swirled, sales swelled.
“Very good business!” Rosas said about Saturday’s sales. “Two-hundred tacos, $600 dollars.”
Norwich Mayor Peter Nystrom is helping his own neighborhood dig out as the full complement of public utilities crews work round the clock.
“Our crews who are out there throughout the day, they started really early,” Nystrom said. “They went home, they tried to get about 8 hours of sleep, they were called back in around 3. And they’re out there cleaning up what they couldn’t do yesterday.”
Nystrom says on Saturday, one plow truck caught fire and is now out of commission.
“No injuries, that is the good thing,” he said.
In The Marina At American Wharf, boats rest on a sheet of ice. The mayor is not expecting any damage to them, as warm temperatures thaw Norwich and help things get back up and running by Monday.
“I think Mother Nature’s going to help us with that, as the temperatures climb up into the 40s mid-week. But it will be a long day of work today to pull it off,” Nystrom said.
Meanwhile, people are in enjoying the scenery, in a quiet city under a white blanket.
“I’m a New Englander, so I’m used to this,” Fowler said. “And I was young, but I remember the blizzard of ’78. You know we’ve got to expect this, and it’s January.”