SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

February 11, 2013

The Big Dig (out)

Some shovel, others sled after storm dumps 2 feet on area

By Jonathan Phelps
Staff writer

---- — While some were still digging out after this weekend’s blizzard yesterday afternoon, others had fun sledding, throwing snowballs and making snowmen.

About 2 feet of snow piled up in most North Shore communities as predicted by weather experts, according to the National Weather Service.

“Unfortunately, they were right,” said Bob Whalen as he cleared the 3 feet of snow pushed onto the sidewalk in front of his Colon Street home in Beverly around 5 p.m. yesterday. It took him five hours to clear his driveway on Saturday with a snowblower he bought two years ago, he said.

“This is the first time I used it,” he said. “I went all out. I did five straight hours.”

At Lynch Park in Beverly, dozens of families lined up at the hill near the entrance to sled.

“Our kids are always excited for the first big snowfall of the year,” said Kevin Hachey of Hawk Hill Road in Beverly, who was there with his three kids.

He said it took two hours for him to clear his driveway Saturday and about 45 minutes to clear the walkway, but they “escaped” to the park yesterday to have some fun. “The kids are having a blast,” he said.

In Salem, a trained spotter recorded 25 inches, while there was 24 inches reported in Topsfield and 23 inches in Marblehead, according to the NWS.

About 240,000 homes and businesses, mostly along the southeastern Massachusetts coast and on Cape Cod, were without power yesterday morning and some might be without it until Tuesday, officials warned. National Grid did not report any outages in Salem or Beverly last night.

Several police departments said the statewide traffic ban, which was lifted around 4 p.m. Saturday, was very helpful. Departments reported minimal problems throughout the storm’s duration.

Many parking bans in area cities and towns remained in effect as of late last night. As of press time, public schools in Beverly, Danvers, Ipswich, Marblehead, Peabody, Salem, and Swampscott remained closed today as DPW workers continue to clear roads and sidewalks. North Shore Tech and Essex Aggie were also closed today.

This was the fifth largest storm reported at Logan airport in Boston, according to the National Weather Service.

Jerry Rossi, of Bosworth Street in Beverly, said he felt his house shake in the wind. But he didn’t lose power and there was no damage to his house.

“I thought it was a little more brutal,” he said of the forecasted weather. “I thought my house was going to blow down.”

He said the advanced warning of this storm was the main difference between this storm and the Blizzard of 1978.

Joe Amore, 59, who operates Amore Plastering in Danvers, was plowing out the Beverly Gas and Tire lot on Cabot Street just before 5 p.m. yesterday. He worked the entire storm for 29 clients and only got a few hours of sleep before continuing yesterday.

“It was miserable,” said Amore, who has been plowing since he was 17. “We had whiteout conditions at times and 50 to 60 mph wind gusts.”

He said the worst of the storm was Friday night into Saturday morning.

“At times to me it looked like the Blizzard of ’78 was back,” he said. “It was coming fast, but it slowed down.”

He said he feared everything being shutdown for days, but the snow lightened up for a few hours allowing crews to catch up. “There is still a lot of cleaning up to do for the cities and towns,” he said.

Back at Lynch Park, Jane Beasley of Cross Street in Beverly brought her two boys to go sledding at the park.

“This is like the good old days,” she said. “I missed the snow all winter last year.”

Beasley said the family took their time shoveling out after the storm and didn’t clear the car off until yesterday morning. “We hunkered down,” she said.

She was joined at the park by her friend Michele Quealy of Woodbury Drive.

“I shoveled between 5 a.m. and 4 p.m. (Saturday) on and off because it kept coming down,” she said.

Her two sons were playing in the large snowbanks on the street before coming to the park.

“I think it is great,” she said. “It is a little crowded, but the kids are having fun.”

Steve Shea of Balch Street in Beverly decided to go cross country-skiing on Saturday before clearing the driveway.

“I’m still working on it,” he said yesterday. “I managed to get my car out.”

Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at jphelps@salemnews.com. Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.