National Guard Continues Digging Stonington Out After Blizzard

While it's back to business at usual in some parts of the state Wednesday, more Connecticut National Guardsmen have been deployed to Stonington, where it could take days to dig out after blizzard dropped 20 inches of snow in the town.

Schools are also canceled again in Stonington and hundreds of schools statewide have either closings or delays.

Ten National Guardsmen were deployed on Tuesday and five more were sent on Wednesday to move snow from the shoreline streets of Stonington, one of the hardest-hit areas of the state where snowfall lingered Tuesday night.

Capt. Michael Petersen of the U.S. Army National Guard said soldiers brought in engineer equipment, including bucket loaders, to move mounds of snow 8-10 feet high.

The guardsmen were dispatched after town equipment broke down Tuesday in the middle of the job, while some streets remained impassible.

Stonington First Selectman George Crouse said he expected cleanup to last up to 20 hours after the Blizzard of 2015 moved out, leaving behind up to 2 feet of snow and heavy financial implications in its wake. Some parts of eastern Connecticut had as much as 30 inches of snow.

"This is not a normal snow," Crouse said. "We are eating up almost our entire budget."

But even after the National Guard helps with the heavy lifting, financial constraints will still pose a problem. Crouse said he hopes the town can qualify for funding through FEMA.

"I've lived on the shoreline since I was 6 and I do not remember a storm of this magnitude," said Stonington resident Martha Slater.

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Stonington isn't the only shoreline community getting some help. Four plow trucks from Bridgeport were sent to New London to help clear clogged-up streets.

"It's nice that they could come lend a hand from elsewhere," said New London resident Alex Schroeder. "We all should do the same, lend a hand, get it done faster."

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