Second storm surprises plow crews

  • Noah Kapise, age 10, of Athol, poses with the snow kitten he and his mom, Stephanie Kapise, made Tuesday. Stephanie remarked that Mother Nature "wasn’t kitten around with this one!"

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 12/3/2019 9:55:20 PM
Modified: 12/3/2019 9:55:14 PM

ROYALSTON – The second round of the snowstorm that moved through the area over the past three days packed a bigger wallop than expected, catching public works crews by surprise. Still, said Royalston Public Works Director Keith Newton, it wasn’t anything his crews couldn’t handle.

“It really doesn’t matter,” said Newton, “whether you’re getting one inch, or two inches, or two feet. It’s all pretty much the same workload.”

Newton estimated round-two of the storm dumped an additional 14 inches of snow on top of the foot that fell from Sunday afternoon into Monday.

“The forecasts I saw Monday indicated that the Boston area and the North Shore would get anywhere from three to eight inches or so,” he said, “and that our area would get another one to three inches. But it was obvious at about 2:30 (Tuesday) morning that we had easily exceeded that amount. At that time, it looked like we had gotten at least another eight inches, and it was snowing pretty heavily.”

“It was almost like a spring snowstorm,” added Newton. “It had a high moisture content and it made the roads quite slippery underneath the snow. We had some difficulty dealing with that, but for the most part things went pretty well.”

Newton said his department did experience some minor equipment problems.

“Two of the smaller trucks went down,” he said. “One of them had an electrical problem which didn’t allow the driver to lift the plow, so we had to take that off the road. The other had a mechanical problem, so that one was out of commission at about 2:30 (Tuesday morning). Still, it didn’t really slow us up.”

Asked how his crews were holding up, Newton responded, “Well, nobody’s singing or dancing.”

“The guys pretty much worked around the clock,” he said. “We try to give them as much of break as possible to grab a decent hot meal, or to take a quick cat-nap. But it’s been quite a haul.”

In a phone interview at around 1:30 Tuesday afternoon, Newton said, “We’re done plowing, now we’re sanding and scraping. We have about half the town done, so we should have everything done by the regular quitting time and the guys can go home, finally, and get some rest.”

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