, Derry, New Hampshire

February 13, 2013

Derry, Londonderry fare well after weekend storm

Residents, road crews dig out in fine fashion

By Julie Huss

---- — With mounds of snow still towering over area roads and sidewalks, cleanup work continued this week after last weekend’s storm that dumped almost 2 feet of snow on the region.

Snowfall totals in Derry and Londonderry kept traffic to a minimum over the weekend so crews could do their work, keeping up with plowing and sidewalk clearing efforts through downtown areas and on side streets.

Those efforts were still going strong Monday when a wintry mix and rain fell.

Derry and Londonderry schools opened Monday, but after-school events and athletic practices were canceled midday after roads turned icy.

Londonderry officials said they had more fire calls early Monday morning due to slippery weather conditions than they had all weekend.

“Other than a lot of snow, people did well,” Londonderry fire Chief Kevin MacCaffrie said.

He said he didn’t expect any problems this week with roofs or other damage.

“It was a light, fluffy snow,” he said. “It got blown off the roofs and nothing stuck to the trees.”

Derry officials were also pleased with the outcome.

“Things went very well (over the weekend),” Derry Town Administrator John Anderson said. “We are now working on the remaining sidewalks and downtown cleanup.”

Anderson said extra crews were called in to keep up with plowing. The fact the storm hit at the beginning of a weekend was helpful, he said.

“The crews worked really hard all weekend,” he said. “And it helped having people off the roads on Saturday.”

Gov. Maggie Hassan urged motorists to stay off the roads as of 7 p.m. Friday and it appeared many heeded that advice.

Although the winds blew hard throughout the region, forming huge drifts against houses and into roads, no significant power outages were reported in either town.

Area schools fared well, too.

“Being proactive is our next step,” Derry superintendent Laura Nelson said. “We will assess school roofs to see if any need to be raked.”

Nelson said this week’s warming trends could add weight to buildings, but she did not foresee any problems.

Derry resident Colleen Kowalczyk took a stroll through downtown Derry Saturday once the snow began to wind down.

“I’m not afraid of this,” she said. “This is New England. It comes every year. This is no big surprise.”

On Sunday, the sun came out and cars lined Pierce Avenue in Derry as families came out to enjoy an afternoon of sledding and tubing at Alexander-Carr Park.

The park’s hill brought out hundreds of people from communities all over the region with enough snow to make for successful sledding.

“I came here 30 years ago,” Diane Atherton of Derry said. “I’m here today with my grandchildren.”

Laurel Scharon, 6, of Derry took some time from her tubing to offer advice to her friends on the proper way to sail down a hill with so much new snow.

“When I’m sliding, I usually turn,” she said. “But when you are going straight, you sort of turn anyway.”

Town officials said they will be keeping their eyes on this week’s warmer weather forecast to make sure ice at the area lakes is safe for ice fishing.

“We’ll be checking the ice,” Derry Parks and Recreation director Eric Bodenrader said.

By Monday, town crews had already done an early sweep of the snow on Beaver Lake to check for ice safety. More inspections would continue all week as temperatures were set to rise to 40 degrees or above.

For some, seeing so much snow is what living in New Hampshire is all about.

“I thoroughly enjoyed this storm,” Chester resident Mike Corey said. “I played with my snowblower, shoveled and went snowshoeing in the back woods. In contrast, I hate rainy winter days.”