Mother Nature delivers another potent punch

Yet another major storm assaulted the Greater New Milford area this week.

This time, instead of dumping heavy snowfall, the invasion by Mother Nature delivered ice and sleet, making travel treacherous and adding onerous weight to already groaning roofs.

Weather forecasts for the weekend aren't any brighter. AccuWeather predicts a wintry mix of freezing rain and snow coming on Saturday.

"My men haven't picked up a hammer this week or last," said John Blore, owner of New Milford-based JRT Construction. "They've been up on roofs shoveling off snow and hacking off ice to save customers' homes."

Several historic barns in Roxbury collapsed under the weight of winter snow just days before this latest storm.

Chuck and Elaine Urban lost their circa 1830 barn along Route 67 on Jan. 26. They heard a muffled thud in the evening and later found the barn collapsed.

"The dog and I heard what sounded like a woosh and, within the hour, my husband said the barn had collapsed," Mrs. Urban said Wednesday.

Fortune was with the Urbans, however, in that their classic 1946 Studebaker truck, parked in the barn, was left unscathed. Another Roxbury barn also collapsed on Baker Road.

New Milford Public Works crews were out Wednesday clearing the ice-covered roads early in the morning to prepare for school bus travel.

Yet, once more, for the eighth day this winter, New Milford schools were closed due to the weather.

"It's an unprecedented winter," said Superintendent of Schools JeanAnn Paddyfote. "It's premature to think about eliminating any of spring vacation to make up school days. We have to see what the net result of the winter is."

As of Wednesday's school closing, the last day of school in New Milford this year would be June 22.

New Milford mom Denise Del Mastro took it all in stride.

"I'm more concerned with keeping my children safe than worrying about any inconvenience that may occur with summer plans," said Mrs. Del Mastro, a mother of three and the executive director of the Greater New Mlford Chamber of Commerce, about the school year running late.

"I'd rather keep them off the roads when travel is bad. You need to take the weather in your stride. We live in New England and it snows here," she added.

Alice Schuette, a New Milford mom of two girls aged 5 and 8, was also looking to the brighter side of winter storms.

"It's hard to be crabby. This morning our girls -- Rose and Grace -- made my husband and I breakfast in bed," Mrs. Schuette said. "How can you be in a bad mood?"

There is some good news for storm-saddled New Milford area residents:

AccuWeather meteorologist Joel Bastardi predicts a warmer weather trend following mid-February into part of March.

Mr. Bastardi referred Wednesday to a "big flip" in a couple of weeks that would mean rainstorms instead of snowstorms for New England.