By Jon Bishop
AYER/HARVARD/DEVENS — Forget ‘Groundhog Day.’ This is like winter “Inception.”
A third storm hit the region starting Sunday, Feb. 8 and continuing into Tuesday, and since the snow came in spurts, it gave DPW workers a chance to keep pace with the accumulation.
“We haven’t been getting a lot (of snow), so we’ve been able to take little catnaps off and on,” said Ayer DPW Superintendent Mark Wetzel. He said the town would do snow removal on the intersections and also treat the roads with salt.
Wetzel said that Ayer dumps its snow in the back of the DPW building.
“We have a lot of land here, so we basically have to just push it up,” he said. “We have plenty of space. It’s not a problem.”
Also, this storm likely pushed Ayer’s snow total close to 70 inches, Wetzel said. Because of this, the town has likely exceeded it snow and ice budget, and so they’ll request deficit spending, he said.
In Devens, it was much of the same, according to Mark Sternman, a spokesman for MassDevelopment, the agency that oversees the former military base.
“I’m told the cleanup is going well,” he said, adding that the roads are traversable.
He said that crews always try to push the snow up to the curbs as much as possible.
“All the snow that comes to Devens stays in Devens,” he said.
And they, like the rest of the state, have seen a lot. Since January 1, they’ve had five feet and four inches of snow, Sternman said.
Devens is still within the snow and ice budget, he said. They also haven’t run out of salt reserves.
“Salt actually hasn’t been that much of a problem, since it’s been more snow rather than ice,” he said.
On Tuesday, Richard Nota, public works director in Harvard, said that the cleanup was difficult, but “we managed to get everything open and get school open today.”
“We were pleased with our effort,” he said. “It was a real challenge. We got a lot of snow on the ground,” adding that “the crew worked very hard at getting it done, and I think they succeeded.”
Harvard has space to store snow, but it’s pilling up, he said. Mounds of snow in parking lots are “extremely large and only growing.”
Thus far, Harvard has received about 70 inches of snow, he said.
“We’re praying for no more snow,” he said. “We’ve had enough. I don’t know if those prayers will be met, but we’re hanging in there.”
Nota said that he’s requesting supplemental funding, because the town has expended its snow and ice budget.
On Monday, fire officials from Ayer, Harvard, and Devens said that the day was mostly quiet.
“Just our typical calls for the day,” said Lt. John Bresnahan of Ayer.
Chief Rick Sicard of Harvard echoed Bresnahan.
“It’s been nice and quiet,” he said.
Sicard, Bresnahan, and Deputy Chief Tim Kelly of Devens recommended that people clear snow away from vents to prevent any carbon monoxide backup. They also encouraged people to help clear fire hydrants.
Especially because this storm won’t be the last. According to Bill Simpson of the Boston branch of the National Weather Service, this active winter weather pattern would continue to next week.
Schools in Ayer and Harvard remained closed on Monday. According to the State House News Service, Gov. Baker will talk to officials about waiving the 180 school day requirement, but he stressed that it would be up to local districts.
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