Blizzard dumps 14 inches on town

Jan 10, 2018 by

Published in the January 10, 2018 edition

By DAN TOMASELLO

LYNNFIELD — The first blizzard of 2018 left the town relatively unscathed.

If you don’t count the cost of snow removal.

In an interview with the Villager, DPW Director John Tomasz said Lynnfield received 14 inches of light but drifting snow during the Jan. 4 blizzard, which was categorized as both a “bomb cyclone” and “bombogenesis” by meteorologists. He said heavy wind gusts made the storm challenging for DPW crews.

“It was challenging because every time we plowed, the wind blew snow over the street and it looked like it wasn’t plowed,” said Tomasz. “It would have been an easy storm without the wind, but the wind was a constant battle. Fortunately, there were not a lot of people out.”

During Monday’s Board of Selectmen meeting, Interim Town Administrator Bob Curtin said he was in contact with Tomasz, Fire Chief Mark Tetreault and Police Chief David Breen throughout the storm.

“It was very difficult because we had quickly accumulating snow and a lot of snow at once,” said Curtin. “The DPW is still working on it and we appreciate the patience people have shown.”

Lynnfield Public Schools, Town Hall, the Senior Center and the Lynnfield Public Library were all closed due to the storm. A winter snow emergency went into effect on Wednesday, Jan. 3. Lynnfield schools were also closed on Friday, Jan. 5.

Superintendent Jane Tremblay commended the DPW for the clean up efforts.

“The DPW did an amazing job,” said Tremblay. “John (Tomasz) worked to make sure the schools were open Friday night and Saturday afternoon for events that were going on, and the sidewalks near the schools were plowed.”

Tomasz said the DPW began plowing at 5 a.m. on Jan. 4 and crews worked for 30 hours.

“The guys were pretty beat the Friday after the storm,” said Tomasz.

Tomasz said he has not finalized the cost of the storm, but noted the DPW’s snow budget was “$17,000 in the hole before the storm.” He said no major pieces of equipment broke down during the bombogenesis.

“Things worked out pretty well,” said Tomasz.

While the DPW faired pretty well during the storm, Curtin said there were some issues at the library.

“We had some ice dams and water seeping in,” said Curtin. “They had to move around some of their programming. I know the DPW was there for a good part of (Monday) getting rid of the ice dams. We are hoping it will dry out and there won’t be any permanent damage, but we are keeping an eye on it. We will be in contact with our insurer if we think there is anything that needs to be remediated.”

Library Director Holly Mercer said in an email the library had to move portions of its collection due to the leaks.

Curtin noted the DPW spent time earlier this week working to improve the sight lines at interactions and plowing sidewalks.

“We want to thank the residents for doing the best they can to keep their sidewalks clear,” said Curtin.

Curtin said the town received some calls from people concerned about the conditions of certain roads and bus stop locations, but said, “The response has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Selectmen Chairman Chris Barrett agreed.

“I know it was a challenging snowstorm for the region, and John and his team did a tremendous job,” said Barrett.

Selectman Phil Crawford concurred with Barrett’s viewpoint.

“I got some nice emails the last couple of days about how good of a job the DPW did during the big storm,” said Crawford. “It’s nice when people recognize a good job and not just telling you when it isn’t being done right.”

While the storm was largely uneventful in Lynnfield, former Town Administrator Jim Boudreau experienced a completely different story at his new home base in Scituate. The South Shore coastal community experienced extensive flooding during the storm. Boudreau was only three days on the job when the storm hit.

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