Third Week of Snowstorms Strains Snow Removal Budget

Students went home early on Tuesday, Feb. 18, as a snowstorm headed eastward and blanketed the area with 8 to 9 additional inches of snow. On Wednesday, Feb. 19, amid swirling snowflakes and near white-out conditions, a swift moving storm dropped another 2 inches of snow as school buses dropped off their students at the end of a normal school day.

According to meteorologist Josh Judge, who lives in Londonderry, the Feb. 18 storm delivered its snow as temperatures remained about 10 degrees lower than computer models had predicted.

“Temperature makes a huge difference in how much snow piles up, as colder temperatures produce the famous ‘fluff factor,’ which means that more snow can be made with the same amount of liquid, because more air is injected into each snowflake,” said Judge. “Wednesday’s storm, on the other hand, behaved more as expected, a brief burst of white-out conditions moved through, quickly blanketing most of Londonderry with roughly 2 inches plus or minus. Visibilities fell to as low as one-eighth of a mile at one point, which usually means 1 to 3 inches can fall in one hour with snow that heavy.”

Two weeks ago a snowstorm dropped 8 inches of snow and last week another storm left 8 1/2 inches. Combined with this week’s snowfall, total snow over the two and a half week period amounts to about 26.5 inches.

According to Londonderry Department of Public Works Director Janusz Czyzowski, crews have gone out 29 times this season for ice and snow removal.

“We are quite a bit over what we anticipate when we budget. We can’t anticipate all of the storms, we average, so right now we are pretty much exhausting our snow removal budget,” Czyzowski said.

He said the department has plenty of salt, but paying for the manpower hours is what is troubling.

“I will have to free some other items in my budget to cover the snow removal. We must plow – I can’t stop plowing,” Czyzowski said.

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