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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Storm Hits Hard and Fast

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Friday, December 09, 2005

A private snowplow contractor cleared a driveway after a Dec. 9 snowstorm brought several inches of snowcover to the area.
A Dec. 9 winter storm produced a fast and furious snowfall throughout the Berkshire region and Southern Vermont, dumping between seven to 15 inches of snow on communities and causing near-whiteout conditions before ending soon after noontime.
Most Berkshire region schools and schools in Southern Vermont were closed due to the storm, which made its’ regional arrival at about 3 a.m..

Stamford, Vt. resident and Molly Stark elementary school teacher Colette Klein said that she cleared a path through several inches of snow from her door to a nearby shed at about 10:15 a.m.; at about 10:30 a.m., a heavy burst of white flakes began filling in the just-shoveled path and erased her efforts within an hour's time, she said.

“The path was just gone,” she said.

Williamstown Highway Department Superintendent Scott Park said that town police officers reported deteriorating road conditions at about 3:40 a.m..

“We came out, we plowed and we sanded,” Park said. “I think we got about seven inches of snow, and about half of that came down between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m.. We were running seven highway department trucks, two parks and cemetery department trucks, and a grader. By 2:30 p.m., we were pretty much caught up and in good shape.”

In North Adams, city trucks hit the roads at about 4 a.m., and battled some white-out conditions. Police Dispatcher Dennis Tuper said that only one minor motor vehicle accident occurred during the storm in the city.

Tuper and his wife Laurie live in Florida, and Tuper said that the snow reached depths of over a foot in the mountain town.

“My wife said that the snow is up to her knees,” he said. “She has a 29-inch inseam, so half of that is just over 14 inches.”

Massachusetts State Police Sgt. Harvey Potter of the Cheshire State Police barracks issued an advisory about Route 2 [Mohawk Trail] at about 10:30 a.m.. Several tractor-trailer trucks were unable to navigate the steep road and, at various times during the morning, were forced to stop moving until state highway trucks delivered salt and sand to the roadway. The trucks posed a roadway hazard and a nuisance, Potter said.

“Route 2 is bad road anyway, windy and narrow, and what you have is trucks from all over the country trying to get over the road,” he said. “In some cases, these trucks are running with summer tires.”

Potter said that he would like to see the Massachusetts Highway Department erect signage at either end of the east-west highway that could alert truck drivers to the road conditions.

Adams Director of Public Works Thomas Satko said that town police requested street sanding at about 3:30 a.m.. The town operated 14 trucks, including pick-up trucks, during the storm, and performed plowing, sanding and salting work, Satko said.

“This snow came down fast,” he said. “We were sanding and plowing through all of it.”

Adams police Dispatcher Michael Pisconeri said that there were a few minor motor vehicle accidents attributed to the snowy road conditions. A heavy burst of mid-morning snow dumped a few rapid inches of snow, but by early afternoon, the snow had just about ended.

“We’re working on getting things cleaned up and back to normal,” he said.

Pittsfield officials reported a few minor motor vehicle accidents, and despite heavier snowfall that fell across Southern Berkshire, Massachusetts State Police Officer Mark Reidy of the Lee barracks reported no motor vehicle accidents on state highways.

Potter said that the region’s drivers seemed to be mindful of the road conditions and driving at reduced speeds.

“People seem to be paying attention to the roads and slowing down,” he said.

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or at 802-823-9367.
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