Plow Crews Gaining Ground on Snow
The town plow crews have been able to keep all roads open today and are now gaining on the cleanup as the rate of snowfall decreases this afternoon.
Public Works Director of Operations Robert Lee said that as of 1:30 p.m., the heavy snowfall had been easing up over the past hour, allowing plow crews to gain some ground.
Since the blizzard started today, arriving around 2 a.m., snow has fallen at a rate of two to three inches per hour, accumulating over a foot with larger drifts and strong winds.
Lee said the reprieve is letting the plow crews get back to widening roadways that were only made passable to traffic before.
“We have been successful in keeping the roads open,” he said.
The prediction from Precision Weather Forecasting, which the town receives localized weather reports from, is in line with other forecasts saying the snow will end around 7 p.m., said Lee. That doesn’t mean plow drivers will pack it in for the night.
“Plows will be out long after the snow has stopped falling,” Lee said, and that could be out as late as 10 p.m.
Lee said a decision will be made by DPW officials between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on whether to cease operations for the night and resume tomorrow at 7 a.m. or plow through the night. He said it depends on various factors, including fatigue, the rate of snowfall and how much progress crews make through the afternoon. Sidewalks will also be part of that call – whether it’s possible to shift resources to start clearing tonight or wait until tomorrow.
Lee said that most of the reports he’s aware of involving trees have been “relatively minor” issues of branches falling. There were a couple instances of whole trees falling into the roadway, but plow crews were able to easily handle those, he said. Danvers Electric, which is a division of the Public Works Department, has been out responding to numerous calls of sagging power lines, but Lee knew of no serious incidents.
Lee said he hasn’t seen many cars on the roads today, which he attributes to people heeding warnings from Gov. Deval Patrick on down to local officials to just stay home.
“Traffic is very, very, very light. And that’s good,” Lee said. It also makes the plowing simpler.