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Five Years Ago, Blizzard Of '13 Slammed Connecticut As Millions Hunkered In

The snow was so heavy and thick, highways were impassable. First responders fought quickly deteriorating conditions to get to these in trouble and tens of thousands lost power. The state was at a standstill.

An unheard of 40 inches of snow fell in Hamden and much of Connecticut saw two feet of snow, forecasters said at the time. Though it may not hold the legend of the Blizzard of ‘78, the Blizzard of 2013 rivaled its magnitude. It was so strong, some likened it to the historic blizzard in 1888, which set previously untouched records.

The storm started on a Friday and its ferocity grew fast. The warnings from forecasters were stark: “This is really serious. This is a storm that can cripple all of southern New England,” Fox 61 meteorologist Joe Furey told the Courant.

Read more about the Blizzard of '78 »

By nightfall, even the most seasoned snow removal crews could not keep up.

"We've been fighting the good fight, but Mother Nature is getting the upper hand right now," a Department of Transportation spokesman said as the storm intensified the night of Feb. 8. Snow was falling at a pace of 2 inches per hour by that point.

At its peak, the storm would drop snow at an extraordinary rate of 4 to 5 inches an hour. It was so heavy, the roofs of some buildings were collapsing.

"It's just a mess all across the state… “ Vance said. "We can't get to people. We're stuck ourselves. We're doing what we can."

At least five people died, some of whom could not be reached by ambulances or police, themselves stopped by the crippling snow.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy closed the highways, a rare move saved for the only strongest snow storms. As such, traffic was light, then Vance said. The people of Connecticut were stuck at home.

Still some ventured out, stir crazy and adventurous. They were met with chest-deep snow. Gas station owners and corner store employees opened doors. In New Haven's East Rock neighborhood, slammed by snow, Lulu’s Cafe became a refuge for the weary.

"I know one thing, we're percolating. Lulu's is always a neighborhood hub, especially when it snows," owner Lulu deCarrone told the Courant.

Like in past blizzards, the headlines were big and bold for those who got the paper during the storm. By the time the “paralyzing” snow stopped on Sunday, the headline read: “HISTORIC SNOW BATTERS STATE.”

"This is going to go down in the history books as one of the biggest," FOX CT meteorologist Joe Furey said of the storm at the time.

That statement proved true, the 13.4 inches that fell in Hartford on Feb. 8, 2013 and the the total snow depth on Feb. 9, 2013 of 22 inches remain records in the National Weather Service almanac. Hamdenites still have not seen 40 inches of snow, which is a welcome reality, one could assume.

Overwhelmed by the sheer amount, some officials said they did not even know where to put the snow. The DOT had a cohort of front loaders digging through feet of snow to clear the state’s major arteries.

Want to share your memories of the Blizzard of 2013? Email reporter Nicholas Rondinone at nrondinone@courant.com »

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