EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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February 12, 2013

Cleaning up after a blizzard takes time

Blizzard leaves a mess behind for plow operators


No major accidents were reported, but there were plenty of minor crashes and vehicles off the roadway.

Londonderry police Sgt. Mark Morrison said the rough weather combined with a busy commute led to several accidents in town.

“Generally speaking, road conditions are less than favorable,” he said. “Visibility is down because of high snowbanks. That, combined with the precipitation, is making things tough.”

Schools around the state were open, but some canceled after school-activities and sporting events.

Fowler said storms of this magnitude, officially a blizzard, can be tough.

“ We’ve had people working 40 to 50 hours over the last couple of days,” he said. “Some of our drivers are still pretty tired.”

But those crews will be out in the downtown late tonight, clearing out some of the snow, he said.

“One of the common complaints is that patrons can’t get to businesses and have to climb over snowbanks,” Fowler said. “We try to get through that during the snowfall, but the storm just piles up too quickly. It’s a pretty intense process. Basically we get six to eight pieces of equipment. We hire a couple of loaders and we clear everything we can.”

If another storm hits before crews can clean up from this one, there would be problems.

There’s a potential for another storm this weekend, but it’s too soon for meteorologists to say much about it.

Michael Cempa of the National Weather Service said it was unclear how much snow the region could see, but he wouldn’t rule out another significant snowfall on Sunday.

That would not be welcome.

“This storm, we had an advantage because there was no snow on the ground,” Fowler said. “But if we get another whopper, all bets are off.”

For now, crews will continue cleaning up and officials encourage residents to do the same. The weight of accumulated snow on roofs and decks is a concern.

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