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Waterbury residents, Dept. Public Works deal with sheet of ice covering cars and roads across the Brass City

Weather

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH)– The Waterbury area always seems to get hit hard when the weather takes a turn for the worse and this storm was no exception.

Related: Freezing rain continuing through late afternoon

We found folks in Waterbury staying home, so they’re putting sand and salt on their driveways.

Plows pushed, while neighbors spread. Anything to get rid of thick, slick layers of sleet and freezing rain.

Early birds started the day in the dark, like Will Reyes. He had to get to work in East Hartford.

“It’s nasty. A good place to be right now is home. If you don’t have to be out here, stay at home,” said Reyes.

Related: Storm timeline: A very icy Tuesday creates dangerous road conditions

Once daylight came, folks were left chipping and shoveling away chunks. Our cameras caught this spin out on 84-West.

Drivers say roads were…

“Slippery, really slippery,” said Jimmy Christian, Waterbury.

But it didn’t stop him. Jimmy Christian ventured out to dig out a friend.

“Figured I’d do the neighborly thing,” said Christian. “Been here my whole life, we help each other out.”

“But hey, routine of life. Mother Nature, we got to deal with it,” said Jazmin Ramos, Watebury.

For nearly 30 years Nick Mancini drove for the Department of Transportation.

When asked if he had plans to go out, Mancini said, “No, stay home. I’m too old to go out.”

Mancini is lucky he can just stay home. But for folks who had to get to work they tell News 8 their commutes were double.

“The snow you can do the work, you can plow. The ice you can’t do nothing,” said Mancini.

For city crews with the Department of Public Works, it was a long, challenging day.

Earl Bushey of Waterbury DPW battled the ice on his car before tackling the ice on the roads.

Mark Lombardo, Deputy Director of Waterbury DPW told News 8 that this is a tricky storm in comparison to storms involving only snow.

60 trucks lined up for salt and sand to tackle the icy roads on Waterbury’s extremely hilly terrain, which poses another challenge with the freezing rain.

“Waterbury from what I’ve been told by a couple of publications and associations, has the second toughest terrain in the United States of America to plow...Because of our hills, the width of our roads, the length, the inclines.”

– John Rocchi, Waterbury plow truck driver

City plow truck drivers like John Rocchi are working to knock out Old Man Winter in a street fight lasting more than 330 miles in the Brass city.

“We started off easy, and then the freezing rain really kicked in. And with the previous cold ground temperature we had that didn’t do us any favors.

The fact that we had a nice rain the other day washed away the other material that we had, so you’re basically starting from square one. It’s like a cat chasing its tail.”

– Waterbury plow driver

WEB EXTRA: News 8’s LaSalle Blanks rode along with Waterbury a plow driver to find out how they deal with the challenges of Old Man Winter

To help in this fight, Waterbury is now using new GPS technology to better deploy guys like Rocchi to trouble spots faster.

For those workers who stayed inside, they were busy with maintenance, making sure trucks were ready for the road.

Lombardo told News 8, for this storm the city also put plows on eight of its garbage trucks.

“To tackle our larger school complexes and also on our main roads to clear the slush off of the roads…They’re very large trucks as you can tell and they can move a lot of material.”

– Mark Lombardo, Deputy Director of Waterbury DPW

As hard as they strategized throughout the day, there is more concern Wednesday morning.

“You look at the refreeze on many of our roadways so we have to be sure we are staffed up.”

– Mark Lombardo, Deputy Director of Waterbury DPW

For now, the message for Earl and all of us: take it easy and be careful.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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