Cold Kills Hartford Dog, Car Batteries; Possible Snow Thursday

After another night of temperatures near zero and forecasts of continued cold weather and snow, AAA braced Tuesday for more calls for service, some schools delayed or canceled classes and the governor extended the Severe Cold Weather protocol.

In Hartford, a dog died from being left out in the cold, police said.

“As we continue through this extended period of bitter cold temperatures, we must take precautions and ensure that services are available to protect the most vulnerable populations,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said early Tuesday afternoon. “Shelters and warming centers remain open throughout the state and can be located by calling 2-1-1 or visiting www.211ct.org. We also encourage folks to check in on seniors and neighbors in need to ensure they are safe and warm.”

The protocol was activated last week, when temperatures first headed south. New Year’s Day 2018 was the coldest in 100 years, according to FoxCT meteorologist Sam Sampieri.

The rest of the week promises more deep-freeze temperatures, and the possibility of some snow by Thursday night.

A significant coastal storm will likely bring accumulating snow late Wednesday night into Thursday night, but how much snow falls depends on how close it tracks to New England.

Meanwhile, the temperature will rise into the 20s Wednesday and Thursday, with Wednesday’s low staying in the teens, according to the National Weather Service.

A dog was found dead in its doghouse on Adams Street in Hartford Monday, said police, who plan to arrest the owner.

“The dog was not provided any type of protective measures against the cold,” police said in a report.

The cold snap also has been tough on cars and other vehicles, like school buses.

Ellington Public Schools was among a few districts that canceled school Tuesday. Despite preparations in advance of the cold weather, a third of the First Students’ bus fleet was not able to run properly, the school district’s website said.

“We are working with First Student to remedy the matter,” it said.

AAA expected to have another busy day. Calls for help reached 200 an hour at mid-day on Monday.

“The day after a long weekend is typically busier than average,” said AAA’s Amy Parmenter said early Tuesday morning. “Add to that the record number of people whose vehicles sat idle while they were away for the year-end holiday … and the bitter cold… and it is possible we could get thousands of calls today alone. Our rescue teams will get to everyone as quickly and safely as possible.”

The relentless cold snap has been taking a toll on water systems as well as vehicles. The Metropolitan District Commission was hit with three water main breaks between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, and more followed. A 4-inch main on Garfield Road in Rocky Hill failed sometime before dawn, but crews were able to restore service by 8:15 a.m.

Earlier, MDC crews were working on Tunxis Road in West Hartford, where an 8-inch main broke around 8 p.m. Eight homes lost water service, and the 88-year-old pipe was repaired by 3 a.m., the MDC spokesman Kerry Martin reported.

Later Monday morning, MDC workers were back in West Hartford, breaking ice away from a cracked main on Westmont Street. About 12 homes went without water from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., when crews finished repairing that 56-year-old pipe.

Bristol firefighters on Monday were called to two houses — one on West Street, the other on Rockwell Avenue — after water pipes burst, and a home on Ridgefield Street in Hartford sustained water damage for the same reason. Burst pipes throughout the region have kept firefighters and plumbers busy.

Another blast of bitter cold air will arrive Friday and take us into the weekend, and the overnight lows will return to single digits, the weather service said. Thursday night’s low temperature will be about 7 degrees, Friday’s and Saturday night’s lows are expected to plunge below zero.

The National Weather Service issued an advisory for Monday morning in northern Connecticut and most of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, warning of wind chills ranging from 5 below zero to 15 below.

The sustained bitter cold is expected to continue to take a toll on vehicles. AAA said calls for help reached 200 an hour mid-day on Monday.

“Today is a day when most people do not have to go anywhere and yet our call volume is through the roof,” Parmenter said Monday. “Tomorrow, when the work week starts, we are likely to see our busiest day yet.”

In the last week, AAA has responded to more than 10,000 calls in greater Hartford alone, Parmenter said. Many calls are for batteries that have failed, she said. The cold has a cumulative effect so every day of the extreme cold is more stressful on the battery than the day before, Parmenter said. Most car batteries last 3-5 years.

Also, tires need more air when it is cold, Parmenter said. Tires that are not inflated properly are more likely to go flat.

Some of the free, guided hikes at state parks in Connecticut for New Year's Day were canceled or shortened due to the bitter cold.

Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection cut or shortened hikes planned Monday at Sleeping Giant, Haddam Meadows and Machimoodus state parks.

The department had planned free, guided hikes at 13 state parks as part of the First Day Hikes program, a joint effort by all 50 state park systems and a private organization called America's State Parks.

The concept began more than 25 years ago at a state park in Milton, Mass.

The Appalachian Mountain Club shortened its hike at the Westwoods trail system in Guilford.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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