There's a song that James Taylor sings which includes the words, "The frost is on the pumpkin."
There may be more than just frost coating the pumpkins and other Halloween decorations this weekend if the forecasters' worst case scenarios come true. And some may alter the next line of James Taylor's song to: "The road salt is in the barn."
Some predictions point to the possibility of a mix of rain and snow starting Saturday night and ending in the early morning. The National Weather Service has issued a storm watch but predicts no significant accumulation. NBC Connecticut is calling for 6 to 12 inches in our area.
West Hartford Ron Van Winkle was as surprised as everyone else when the forecast for snow became more likely, but he said the town would be ready. "We usually shift over, but this timing is coming as a surprise," he said.
"We're doing what we have to do. The timing isn't great since we are still in the middle of our construction season," said John Phillips, Director of for the Town of West Hartford.
Phillips said that today is the department's transition day, as they change out parts on trucks that have been being used for construction and pipe work, and ready them for plowing. It's a job that they usually spread out over a two-week period.
"December 1 is our usual target date for being completely ready," said Phillips. "You'll get flurries or dustings before that, but nothing like this," he said, referencing the possibility of 6-12 inches of heavy, wet snow.
The Department of Public Works already stocked up on road salt, which they purchased over the summer to get the best price. "We make sure we're always ready with that. We have a full load in the salt barn," Phillips said.
If this is a plowable event, Phillips said, "people should know that we won't plow to the curb. The ground isn't frozen and we don't want to damage yards. The roads may be narrow for a while, but it will melt quickly."
The forecast could be completely wrong, but Public Works can't take any chances. "The management team is going through plow route assignments, and will react as conditions develop."
In any case, Monday will be a transition day once again, getting the trucks back into action for construction, leaf removal, and other autumn activities.
"If this was January 29, not October 29, it would be different. This is just an abnormal blip, but we will keep the roads safe for travel."
Phillips does not anticipate this storm being the onset of a long winter season. "That would be extremely awful," he said.