Anniversary: Dr. Mel and Civic Center Collapse

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By Stephen Gode on January 18, 2013, 11:59pm Last modified: January 20, 2013, 5:02pm

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Today, January 18th, is the one year anniversary of the passing of Dr. Mel Goldstein and the 35th anniversary of the Civic Center roof collapsed.

During this one year anniversary of the passing of Dr. Mel (January 18, 2012 WTNH article), we remember how he touched the hearts of many. He was such an inspiring person for fighting diseases to teaching and forecasting the weather. He was definitely one of the funniest people you would ever meet even if it was for a short time in your life. I had the honor to be at a few of his talks during the Second Tri-State Weather Conference, the Third Tri-State Weather Conference, and the President’s Lecture Series in 2011 held at Western Connecticut State University (Dr. Mel founded WCSU Weather Center and photos) in Danbury, CT, while attending school there as a meteorology major. He absolutely loved the weather and was thrilled for any extreme weather event. Because of this he relates to all weather enthusiasts, meteorology majors, and professionals for their passion of the weather. Teaching meteorology was one of his most beloved things to do. Dr. Mel wished he could teach forever. He would always keep you late, because if he could, he could talk about the weather forever. Unfortunately, I did not have the honor to take any of his classes. I could only imagine how great that would have been! Dr. Mel will always be remembered and never forgotten. God bless you, Dr. Mel!

On January 18, 1978, the Hartford Civic Center roof collapsed (above photo and additional photos are from the Hartford Courant). In the Convention Center that joins the Hartford Civic Center, my Dad, also Stephen Gode (a high school student at the time), was asked to help set-up an upcoming event for the weekend. After 2 am, my Dad finished and sat in the lower stands of the empty Civic Center while he waited for a ride. He was possibly the last person inside the Civic Center before it collapsed. At 4:15 am, the Civic Center collapsed due to the weight of heavy snow and poor construction. Recently, a UCONN basketball game ended inside the Civic Center filled with people just several hours before the total roof failure. Fortunately, no one was inside at the time of the roof collapse. Soon, crews were going to prepare for a hockey game. ``I'll just be thanking the Lord that no one died,'' said former Hartford Deputy Mayor Nicholas R. Carbone. What a blessing and a miracle! I always thank the Lord, too, for everything. I could have not been here today if it happened earlier. 

"Engineering Disasters" History Channel YouTube video:

The new XL center, which replaced the Civic Center, was built stronger, routinely checked, and cleaned off from heavy snow frequently.

These snow events precluded the epic blizzard of 1978 in February (NWS pdf):

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Stephen Gode

Town: North Haven, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since September 2012.

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