Paul is a full-time fifth-grade teacher at an elementary school in Fairfield ... Paul is an Emmy award winner, five-time Emmy nominee, and four-time winner of the Connecticut Associated Press Broadcasters' Association award for 'Best Weathercast' ... The local weather journal is a two-time winner of the Communicator Award of Distinction ... Paul was inducted into the Housatonic Community College Hall of Fame and received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2012 ... Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulPiorek ...

Monday, January 12, 2015

Stretch of Wild Winter Weather Happened Nine Years Ago This Week

An incredible stretch of weather brought just about everything, except the kitchen sink, to southwestern Connecticut nine years ago this week. Several storms brought heavy rain, accumulating snow, damaging winds, and dangerous icing to the area over a three-day period which began on Saturday, January 14, 2006, and continued through Monday, January 16, 2006. The wild weather ride actually didn't end until nearly a week later.

I recorded the following entries in my weather log, which I chart daily. Although most days are rather mundane, I highlighted these three days for obvious reasons. The weekend included record-high temperatures, record rainfall, tropical storm force winds, bitter cold wind chills below zero, icy roadways, and three-and-a-half inches of snow.

Saturday, January 14, 2006 --- A powerful Winter storm came barreling into the Northeast, producing record heavy rainfall of 1.59 inches, which broke the old mark of 0.91 inches, established in 1958. Strong southerly winds ahead of a well-defined cold front (51 miles-an-hour wind gust) brought down trees and power lines, and mild temperatures (56 degrees at 7:53 am) began a 36-hour stretch of severe weather across southwestern Connecticut.

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I took each of these photos of the damage in my neighborhood from the storms. The first two show a truck and a car which were destroyed by falling trees in 50+ mile-an-hour wind gusts from January 14.

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Sunday, January 15, 2006 --- Continued strong wind gusts (48 miles-an-hour) out of the North behind the front delivered much colder air (32 degree high and 11 degree low), and 3.5 inches of snow, creating a nightmare for local residents as power outages, below zero wind chills, and icy roadways punctuated the day's weather. The damage from the wind was extensive, as evidenced by the many trees which came tumbling down.

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Monday, January 16, 2006 --- Bitter cold wind chills greeted early-morning risers as temperatures hovered between zero and ten degrees at daybreak. The high (29 degrees) and low (10) were well below normal for mid-January. Although the wind began to relax somewhat, we still had a peak wind gust of 31 miles-an-hour. United Illuminuating crews were out in full force attempting to restore power to many residents who were braving the ice, wind, and extreme cold for several days.

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Personally, what I remember most from that weekend was losing power Saturday night, January 14, while my son and I were watching the New England Patriots' playoff game at Denver. We awoke to frigid, snowy, and icy conditions the following morning. However, fortunately for us, we were one of only a handful of families in our neighborhood to have power restored late the following morning. The majority of homes in our neighborhood remained without power for several days.

Paul