|JC Carette, a sales associate at Benson’s Lumber and Hardware in Derry, adjusts |
a bike wheel next to an array of snow gear.
Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY -- Seasonal schizophrenia is a condition that affects most New Englanders. Despite sure signs of spring, like tulip shoots and robins, it doesn’t matter that you’ve flipped your calendar to April. Snow happens, as it will Friday. Only an April fool would be surprised that a nor’easter would materialize one week before the Red Sox home opener.
Just how much April snow showers are heading our way is still up in the air, quite literally, said Tom Hawley, a meteorologist stationed at the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.
“If you get 10 meteorologists in a room, you’ll get 10 different forecasts with this storm,” said Hawley. “But the consensus is usually correct.” Currently, the consensus is that sometime after midnight a heavy, wet snow will start falling and continue until it amounts to at least 6 inches.
“The computer models are all over the place here — depending on the storm track, some would bring in snow that changes over to rain, another would put the snow farther east. Either way, we have a winter storm watch in effect,” Hawley said.
“Whether it hits full force or just a glancing blow, I suspect we won’t know that for certain until sometime Thursday morning. If we get the brunt of it, and it’s heavy, there would likely be outages because the snow will be sticking to power lines and tree branches,” Hawley said.
By no means will the storm set a record for April snow — that was set back in 1874 when 35 inches of snow fell in the month known for its spring showers.
In recent memory, the snowiest Aprils on record were in 2003, when 12. 2 inches of snow fell; and 2007, when we hit a foot of snow in the 30 days leading into May.
Hawley’s National Weather Service counterpart in Taunton, Mass., meteorologist Alan Dunham, characterized the looming precipitation as “heart attack” snow.
“Given the temperatures will be in the low 30s, it’s not going to be light and fluffy. Anyone who’s not in good shape shouldn’t be shoveling. There are plenty of kids out there looking for a buck,” Dunham said.
Perhaps. But don’t expect Vincent Pittore or John Maddison to be out there shoveling.
“I am done with the snow,” said Pittore, 15, of Derry.
“Yeah,I’vehadenough,”said Maddison. “Even if it means a day off from school. I don’t want it.”
Lorna Cook of Derry was almost too busy absorbing rays of sunshine Wednesday on East Broadway to be thinking about Friday’s storm.
“I’ve lived in New Hampshire for 50 years, so no, I’m not surprised. That doesn’t mean I have to like it,” said Cook. “I’m ready for winter to end.”
Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Boynton said between salt use and manpower, snow spending is running right around where projections were for this season. Still, this could end up being a million-dollar April Fool’s Day storm — which is no joke.
“If we put all 700 plows out, of which 400 are private, that’s going to cost about $70,000 per hour, and if you figure it may turn out to be a 20-hour storm, it will easily cost over a million dollars,” Boynton said.
That, based on a statewide seasonal snow budget of about $35 million.
Derry’s Highway Department Superintendent of Operations Alan Cote said contrary to popular belief, even plow guys tire of pushing the snow around.
“We’re looking forward to construction and spring cleanup at this point in the season,” Cote said. “I’ve been praying that this storm is just an April Fool’s Day joke. Of course. if God were listening to my prayers, we wouldn’t have had a winter at all.”