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Schools Closed Monday; Emergency Operations Center and Warming Center Now Open

Mayor Scott Slifka Declares State of Emergency; Schools Closed Monday.

Most West Hartford residents awoke Sunday morning to a reality that looked like a war zone. All over town, tree limbs litter streets and sidewalks, and many roads cannot yet be plowed due to debris and downed power lines blocking access.

"The Emergency Operations Center at the West Hartford police station opened at 10 a.m. this morning, and we also declared a State of Emergency at the same time," Mayor Scott Slifka said.

A warming center opened at 1 p.m. at the Elmwood Community Center. "Residents can go there to warm up and charge their cellphones," Slifka said, "but we're still advising people to stay home unless they absolutely need to go out."

Slifka said that the warming center is not intended to be a shelter where all needs can be met, but just a place to go during the day. Residents must bring their own food.

"As the day goes on, we will be assessing the need for opening shelters where people can stay overnight," Slifka said. They are combatting many things, including the ability to get staff situated around town.

West Hartford Public Schools have already announced that they will be closed on Monday.

Although CL&P's outage map indicates that 100 percent of West Hartford is without power as of 1:15 p.m., there are pockets where power is on. Many businesses on Park Road, West Hartford Center, and Bishop's Corner are open.

West Hartford officials have been in touch with CL&P, and Slifka said that they have not yet given an estimate for power restoration to anyone.

"They have informed us that today is a day of assessment, although some pockets may get power. They are using the available daylight to assess the situation, and tomorrow will be the first full day of recovery. There are lots of poles down, and those will take longer to repair," Slifka said.

Public Works Director John Phillips told Patch, "I couldn't be prouder of my crew. Up against a significant debris field we are out opening the arterials. [There is] heavy tree damage, and 90 percent of all tree damage involve power lines. We have one CL&P crew and they have made progress on our most serious primary failures."

Phillips asked for residents to be patient. "We promise we will do our work when we can. ... The impossible will take us a bit longer."

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