EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 17, 2013

Storm hit at just the wrong time

Wet snow turned to ice; storm hit as commute started


He said all the superintendents in the area “made the same decision: To have school this morning.”

Scully said he got up at 4 a.m., looked outside and didn’t see any snow. He looked at the weather reports, found out the road conditions, talked to the city’s transportation staff, and made a decision to have school.

“I make the decision I think is the best,” he said. “Every other city and town in Massachusetts made the same decision: To have school. I think they all made the right decision.”

The problem, he said, was that the water content in the snow was very high, so that after it hit the roads, “the minute cars hit it, it became slick. And that happened in half an hour. ... In one half hour, things turned to ice. None of us are snow gods. We take the information we have and try to make the right decision.”

He noted that “by 10 a.m., all the roads were black,” meaning the pavement was showing.

“And the kids got home safely today,” he said.

Fiorentini said complaints are now coming in to cities and towns across the region about the road conditions.

“The timing of the storm was right about the time of the commute,” he said. He added, however, he plans on holding a meeting with Supt. Scully and the highway director “to see if there’s anything we can improve on. We always want to do better.”

Haverhill Public Works Director Mike Stankovich said the National Weather Service predictions of 3-7 inches were right on, but “the challenge was the timing. It began just as the commute was starting.”

He said when storms hit at 10 or 11 at night, the plows get out and clear the streets by the time the morning commute rolls around.

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