EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

March 20, 2013

Just in time for spring, a 10- to 12-inch snow storm

NORTH ANDOVER — It was a stubborn storm from a stubborn winter.

Yesterday, snow started around midnight and dropped about 8 inches in the Merrimack Valley before coming to an end around noon. It started up again later in the day, dropping another 2 to 4 inches, for a total of 10 to 12 inches across the region.

While the winter may seem like it’s been long, dreary and snowy, the fact of the matter is that it didn’t really snow much at all until February. According to Bruce Thibodeau, director of the Department of Public Works in North Andover, there was a 5.5-inch storm just after Christmas, but that melted away quickly with ensuing warm weather. It didn’t really snow again until the big blizzard hit Feb. 8 and dropped 2 to 3 feet of snow across the Merrimack Valley. Since then, it’s been one storm after another.

“This is sort of like torture,” said Ray DiFiore, public works director in Methuen, referring to the roughly 1 foot of heavy, wet snow that fell across the city yesterday.

“At 1 a.m. we sent out the sanders. At 3 a.m. we sent out our own plow trucks. At 5 a.m. we called in the hired equipment. We’ve gotten this storm beaten down three or four times,” he said. By 2 p.m. yesterday, things were pretty well in hand. Most of the streets were cleared down to black pavement.

But then he heard another weather report.

“Now, they are saying we could get dumped another 3 to 5 inches,” he said.

National Weather Service meteorologist Alan Dunham confirmed there was a slight lull in snowfall, followed by a significant upper-cut which was expected to drop as much as three more inches.

“It’s nothing we didn’t expect,” he said.

While he didn’t have the season’s official snowfall amounts for the Merrimack Valley because the NWS weather station at the Lawrence Municipal Airport doesn’t tally snowfall amounts, he was able to give Boston figures — about 65 inches, versus a typical winter of about 40 inches.

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