- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 27, 2015

NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) - The highest snowfalls in Connecticut turned into a powdery problem Tuesday for many residents in the eastern part of the state, but not so much for seals and sea lions at Mystic Aquarium that played in the winter windfall.

Officials in some towns asked the state for help clearing roads, as local plow crews were overwhelmed by up to 2 feet of snow, higher drifts and wind that kept blowing snow back on the streets.

The National Weather Service said there were reports of 25 inches of snow in Plainfield, 23 inches in Waterford and just over 22 inches in Danielson and Hampton.

New London Mayor Daryl Finizio said snowfall in his coastal city also topped 2 feet. He said members of the Connecticut National Guard and four plow crews from Bridgeport, which had only gotten about 6 inches, were going to help local workers clear city streets and sidewalks.

“The storm wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but it remains one of the largest winter storms to ever hit our city,” he told citizens in a Facebook posting.

Pomfret First Selectman Maureen Nicholson requested a piece of heavy construction equipment from the state.

“It’s just hard to keep up with the drifting snow,” she said.

National Guard members also were going to help with the cleanup in Stonington.

Plainfield officials told the Norwich Bulletin that police offered a Humvee for hospital staff to get to work if needed, and a town plow went up in flames after a mechanical problem.

Nineteen staff members at Mystic Aquarium spent the night to care for the animals during the storm.

Toni Loschiavo, assistant curator of California sea lions and birds, told The Associated Press that many of the species are from cold-weather habitats and had a lot of fun during the blizzard.

“Our seals right now are hilarious; they are rolling around in the snow,” she said. “Our Steller sea lions and our Beluga whales are also playing with the snow. For them, it’s no problem.”

The aquarium’s penguins, however, had to be kept inside.

“We have warm-weather African penguins. They aren’t the ‘Happy Feet’ variety of penguin,” Loschiavo said.

Loschiavo, a marine biologist, said the staff also had some fun, turning the overnight into a slumber party, watching the Disney movie “Maleficent” and doing jobs they normally wouldn’t get to do.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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