Paul is a full-time fifth-grade teacher at an elementary school in Fairfield ... Paul is a New York Emmy award winner (2007), five-time Emmy nominee, and four-time winner of the Connecticut Associated Press Broadcasters' Association award for 'Best Weathercast' in Connecticut (2006, 2008, 2009, 2012) ... The local weather journal is a two-time winner of the Communicator Award of Distinction (2012 & 2013) ... Paul was inducted into the Housatonic Community College Hall of Fame and received the Distinguished Alumni Award (2012) ... Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulPiorek ...

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Recalling the St. Patrick's Day Storm Eight Years Ago

St_patricks_day_pinEight years ago this morning, I had one of the most difficult drives to work in my many years of providing morning weather to our viewers, Saturday, March 17, 2007. My car was a block of ice. My kitchen door froze after I shut it, locking me out of my own house while I attempted to get into the car. The battle with the car door to get it open took me about 10 minutes. And, I had to wake my son out of a sound sleep to accompany me on my harrowing drive to work.

The drive was, without question, extremely difficult. The roads were covered with ice and snow, and snow plows created some embankments at intersections, making it difficult to drive through the mounds of snow and ice. I got stuck twice in "cakes" of snow and ice. Our morning news anchor told me he "did a 360" on the turnpike, and he was obviously unnerved before we went on the air.

According to Lieutenant Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police who appeared on our morning newscast that day, "Troopers have responded to over 477 accidents. We've been non-stop, busy, constantly during this whole storm. There are really treacherous conditions out there," emphasized Vance. "Many motorists have been stuck."


The storm began on Friday, March 16, 2007, with a moderate snow blanketing the region. The numbers were very impressive for mid March. Easton (6.5 inches), Fairfield (6.4"), New Canaan (6.0"), and Darien (6.0") each received at least a half-foot of snow unofficially. Even Bridgeport (5.0") had substantial snow. The average monthly snow for March is 4.3 inches based on 40 years of climatology. One of our viewers sent this photo from Norwalk.


"It was a tough storm," admitted John Kerry of the Department of Transportation storm center. "We're telling people that if they can hold off on their travel they will probably be in a lot better shape. We are seeing spin outs because the roads are slippery." One snow plow driver was asked by News 12 Connecticut's Kristi Olds if this was the worst storm of the Winter. "This one was," he answered immediately. "This one was by far the toughest. All the snow, the ice, and wind. It was tough!"

Nora Massella of Milford, who is a devoted viewer to our morning newscasts, sent this photo of her home and neighborhood. Nora wrote, "Paul, my husband, Mike, tried to get out and it was impossible. When he put down onto the snow, it was thick, thick ice. In order to get rid of this ice, you have to chop it and crack it in order to get rid of it. Our cars are frozen closed."


The Vernal Equinox is just three days away, but Winter is refusing to let go. Spring officially arrives this Friday!