Snowy Forecast Starts Scramble to Finish Fall Cleanup

“I probably emptied my bags 15-20 times already,” said Hasit Nike as he sat on his riding lawnmower.

Monday marked the third time this fall that the Newington man has tried to get rid of the leaves on his lawn.

“This time it will probably take me three hours, today. Last time it took me six hours,” he said.

His goal was to get all of his yard work finished before Tuesday’s wintry weather descended on Connecticut.

“I was thinking of doing this next weekend, but now because of the bad weather I have to jump on it and get it done,” said Nike.

Employees at West Hartford Landscaping know all too well what happens when you try to rake up leaves left out in the freezing rain and snow.

“It’s much harder. It probably takes two times as long cause they all get packed down,” said landscaper Coleton Petersen. “Once they get packed down with the snow it’s like moving a brick.”

Towns were up against the clock to get outdoor clean-up projects checked off before the rain, snow, and freezing temperatures arrived.

“Without a doubt. Not only are we battling against the elements we’re also battling against the time,” said Sally Katz, Wethersfield’s physical services director.

She pointed out that because leaf pickup crews can’t work in the dark, they have to stop each day at 4 p.m. They planned to continue trying to pick up leaves in the rain Tuesday morning.

As crews tried to get the piles of leaves picked up from the curb Monday afternoon, salt was also being delivered back at their home base. Plows were laid out in the parking lot as well.

“We will transfer those trucks and make them into snow plow trucks where they will have salt in the bed of the truck along with the sand and salters,” Katz said.

The forecast caused plenty of people to not just thinking about their yards, but also their heat. The phones at Barney Barker Oil/Campbell Cooling started ringing at 7 a.m. Monday. He planned for a 12-hour shift but said maintenance crews were preparing for an even longer night.

“Everyone’s talking about this arctic blast that’s coming through,” said Michael Campbell. “It’s kind of a mad rush now cause like all of us, we all forget to do things and usually one of the last things we check is the oil tank level.”

Back in Newington, Nike enjoyed Monday’s t-shirt weather, knowing that his grass that was covered in leaves on Monday might covered in snow on Tuesday.

“I had a long shirt on and I just took off my sweatshirt. It’s too hot. It’s good weather today, so get it done,” said Nike.

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