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February 7, 2013

Here we snow again

Storm near anniversary of '78 blizzard could dump a foot or more

On the 35th anniversary of the Blizzard of ’78, Massachusetts is bracing for another winter wallop.

A snowstorm is predicted to hit Massachusetts over the next couple of days, dropping at least a foot of snow in the area.

At press time, a blizzard watch was in effect from Friday morning through Saturday afternoon for much of eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. The National Weather Service and local weather guru Ryan Breton agree that the heaviest snow and gusty winds are expected Friday night into Saturday morning, with northeast winds up to 35 mph and with gusts to 55 mph. Visibilities could be as low as a quarter-mile during the worst of the storm.

The forecast is already riling people up, as they head to hardware stores for snow supplies. School officials have already re-scheduled weekend sporting events, and are mulling options for snow days. Public works directors are watching the forecasts as well, hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

“We haven’t had a snowstorm in two years,” said Al Goldstein, manager at Rocky’s Hardware in North Andover, where customers were picking up shovels and ice melt. “The more they hype it, the busier it will get. It seems like it’s going to happen. We can only hope.”

While the storm may boost business for hardware stores, it will also wreak havoc on school schedules. Haverhill Athletic Director Tom O’Brien said Friday night’s basketball games have already been re-scheduled, with the boys now slated to play in Tewksbury tonight and the girls against Lawrence in Haverhill Monday night.

“Quite a few athletic directors in our league are doing this,” he said, noting that it’s easier to re-schedule the games now rather than later in the season.

Public works officials are carefully watching and listening to weather reports online, on the radio and on TV. Some say the closer it gets to the actual event, the more they will know. But they’ll be ready no matter what happens.

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