Life Beyond Boating  l  Marblehead, Massachusetts

The First Blizzard of 2011

Click thumbnails below for a larger picture
January 12-14, 2011

Oh boy, storm number two of the 2010-11 winter season, another nasty one only a week later, starting in the very late afternoon and reportedly ongoing for the next day. I took this shot at 3 am.  (Jan. 12, 2011)

The weathermen are calling for up to two feet, and it looks like they might be on-mark.

Trees are being buried, limbs breaking, I suppose power lines too. This could be a bad one. Heavy snow, no drifting but heavy.

It's looking pretty intimidating out there; we're going nowhere for a while.

The front porch, and Chip Ahoy beyond.

Chip Ahoy is still faring well.


The wild turkeys arrived for their hand-out.

The mouse/mole I caught by the tail outside the sliding door is at least warm -- though "Slick" (aka, Ozzie) is taking an interest.


The frigging Sears snow-thrower died again. It never fails to crap out almost every major storm when I need it most. This time, the drive train ceased working, no drive in forward of reverse.  (Jan. 13, 2011)

The arborvitae trees lost a trunk from the snow's weight, right across my usual path, so clearing snow between my and Barbara's houses doesn't seem possible, not today anyway.

I got some snow-moving done before the snow-thrower crapping out as usual. Couldn't reach this birdfeeder though.

I did the best I could while I could. At least I can sort of make it out to the wood racks when necessary.

It's going to require patience to move from here. (Note the turkey tracks -- they found their way!)

Chip Ahoy is weathering it all well.

The wild turkeys (are they really "wild"? any more?) congregate around my Blazer.

I went out and led them to the kitchen's sliding glass door, where I fed them sunflower seeds -- much to their delight.

A lot of good this Sears snow-thrower is doing me. I've parked it, am waiting for the service technician to show up -- Saturday. At least I don't have to wait until spring, as usual.

So -- as is too common with a Sears snow-thrower -- the trusty muscle-power shovel has cleared a path out to the life-sustaining wood racks across the lot.


Patience. We're not going anywhere until the plows arrive.

The turkeys, now out back beneath the bird feeders, seem content with the droppings.

At last, just before sunset, Bob Donovan's crew arrived and cleared a path so we can theoretically break out -- but where out of the way can we park for when they come back to clean up?

Bob's guys arrived this morning with the heavy artillery.  (Jan. 14, 2011)

I'm glad I didn't pursue my efforts any further toward the wood racks across the lot -- called that one right!

Alright, cleared out more or less. Now the hand shoveling can continue, the detail work begin.

More shoveling cleared the path to the wood racks, and cleared the racks themselves.

Chip Ahoy, behind the mountain of snow.

A lot of snow moved from one place to another, but I was able to clear the wood racks -- I can keep the wood stove fueled and blazing, at least won't freeze!

A view of the arborvitae tree from the backside, down right across my usual path to Barbara's back door. This looks like a job for the chain saw, if I ever can reach it.

The firewood racks, now accessible. Time to haul in some more while I can.

All we need now is a lift and we can start our own ski slope!


The Salem News
Thursday, January 13, 2010

Snowstorm hits hard
North Shore spends day digging out

By Jesse Roman

A powerful nor'easter plowed into Massachusetts early yesterday morning, dropping 17 to 20 inches of snow on the North Shore and keeping most people home from school and work.

The storm knocked down trees and wires and cut power to more than 1,700 National Grid customers in Essex County, according to the electrical utility. Beverly was affected the most, with 489 customers losing power. However, as of late yesterday afternoon, only about two dozen Garden City homes were still without power, though electricity remained out at 231 Hamilton homes and 82 in Swampscott.

Statewide, more than 100,000 power outages were reported as of yesterday afternoon. National Grid said it planned to have the power back on to the majority of those homes by this evening.

"We likely are looking at a multiday effort for full service restoration," Christopher Root, National Grid senior vice president of electricity operations, said yesterday in a statement.

In Beverly, police said the snow felled many trees and wires and in a few instances sparked fires when the wires fell into trees.

Gov. Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency and activated about 250 National Guard troops to help dig out in the hardest-hit regions.

Locally, public works crews began clearing roads as early as 2 a.m. yesterday. In Peabody, city workers and about 100 contractors were out trying to keep things clear.

"I think we're holding our own staying ahead of this, but it's difficult. People in the plows, they really put out a big effort with this storm — some will be on the job 24 to 30 hours," said Robert Langley, the director of public services in Peabody. "Right now, we have our hands full. It's been a real intense storm. At times, we've added a couple of inches an hour."

Beverly Department of Public Services Director Mike Collins said too many people were on the roads, hampering snow-clearing efforts and risking exposure to downed live power lines.

"It's ugly," Collins said. "People are out there walking their dog, jogging, cross-country skiing, everything they shouldn't be doing in the middle of a blizzard. It's dangerous."

Crews in Salem began salting roads at 2 yesterday morning, and the plows hit the streets at 4 a.m. In all, 55 pieces of snow-clearing equipment, including city and contractor trucks, were deployed.

This storm presented more of a challenge than the one that hit the day after Christmas, said Richard Rennard, Salem's director of public works.

"It's a wetter snow, and it seemed to snow harder for a longer period of time," he said.

Cleanup is expected to take at least a week.

Most motorists seemed to heed the warnings issued by state and local officials to stay off the roads.

Danvers police officer Daniel Kenneally said police dealt with a couple of cars that were stuck in snowbanks.

The smaller towns reported no serious problems.

In Ipswich, a tree limb fell on Spring Street, knocking out a transformer. Town Hall remained open, but Town Manager Bob Markel and just a handful of managerial staff went in to work.

"I advised everyone to do the sensible thing (and not come in to work if it's too dangerous)," Markel said. "I'm here to field phone calls and keep in touch with the DPW."

For the most part, local highways were free of traffic, according to state police. There were occasional spinouts, but no injuries were reported.

Good and bad

While the storm raged, the streets of Salem were eerily quiet yesterday. The silence was broken only occasionally by the sound of a passing plow or the hum of a snowblower.

For many, the first major snowstorm of the year was welcomed.

On Foster Street, Harley, a Lab, and Lola, a Shih Tzu, were prancing around in the snow and loving every minute. Lola's owner, Jessica King, a junior at Salem High School, was just as happy. Her school was closed.

"I'm looking forward to relaxing and catching up on a few hours of sleep," she said. "I hope it keeps snowing, because I'm still looking for about a two-hour delay (to school) tomorrow."

She got more than she wished for, as school is also canceled today, as it is across most of the North Shore.

Just down the street, sisters Michelle Meline and Kristen Newland, who are also neighbors, were busy shoveling off a car. They had earlier unburied their mother's car down the street.

"I've been in it for about four hours now," Meline said. "I just love being out here."

It took Carlos Barros almost two hours to get his long driveway in Peabody cleared, he said. The gas in his snowblower ran out before he finished, and he had to clear the rest of it the old-fashioned way — with a shovel. He was out yesterday afternoon at the gas station filling up a can.

"I usually don't go out in this weather, but I have to work tomorrow and I need my driveway clear," he said.

Salem Liquors on North Street was open, and more than a few folks with an unexpected day off were availing themselves of its merchandise.

"Most of the business is from people who are within walking distance, but there are a few brave souls who drove," store clerk Brian Michaud said.

The shop only closes three days a year. Michaud's four-wheel drive got him to work, but the night shift looked iffy.

"The night help already called to say they didn't know if they could get plowed out in time to make it," Michaud said.

Staff writers Paul Leighton, Bethany Bray, Ethan Forman, Matthew K. Roy and Alan Burke contributed to this report.

The Boston Herald
Thursday, January 13, 2011

Storm wreaks havoc at Logan
By O’Ryan Johnson, Laura Crimaldi, and Colneth Smiley Jr.

. . . That brought the season’s total to 40.4 inches, just 2 inches shy of the total snowfall for a typical winter, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Charlie Foley.

The Cleanup Continues: January 16-17, 2011
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