EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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March 8, 2013

SNOWPRISE! Area whacked with almost a foot of snow overnight

While everyone was watching the shoreline, Mother Nature snuck in overnight and dropped as much as 10 inches of snow in some areas of the Merrimack Valley.

"As of last night, most people didn't think this storm would materialize," said Lawrence police Chief John Romero. "It definitely caught people by surprise because the predictions were so much less."

Ryan Breton of AtkinsonWeather.com said there were a couple of computer models that indicated we were in for a hit, so "it is not a complete surprise, but what happened is very impressive."

"There is a large ocean storm hundreds of miles offshore that has stalled, locking in the cold air overnight, resulting in heavy snow," Breton said. "I haven't see a weather set-up like this in my nine years of observing Merrimack Valley weather."

Morning commuters in Haverhill were met with near-blizzard and in some areas white-out conditions as well as slippery roads. City plows were out in full force and were clearing streets, but they battled constant snow that caused slippery, hard-packed conditions for drivers. In and around the downtown, pedestrians trudged along the sides of the roads as many sidewalks were still in the process of being cleared. It resulted in some precarious situations with drivers passing dangerously close by them.

On some streets, such as Emerson Street, drivers trying to make their way up the hill in front of the Comcast office were unable to maintain traction and were forced to turn around and find another route. Some drivers who traveled up White Street then stopped at the lights at Monument Square found themselves stuck and unable to proceed without backing up first. Drivers in four-wheel drive vehicles went around them with little trouble.

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