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December 16, 2013

Cold and ice linger after first major snowfall

Storm dropped 9.5 inches on Greater Newburyport

NEWBURYPORT — The first significant snowstorm of the season dropped 9 1/2 inches of the white stuff on Greater Newburyport and left a winter wonderland behind — but for local law enforcement, it was a pretty calm event.

Both Newburyport and Newbury police said Plum Island fared well during the storm as it hit from late Saturday afternoon into Sunday morning; while it caused huge waves, there was no major flooding or serious damage. By mid-day on Sunday, the waves were drawing observers out to the beach to take photos of the surf.

“We had zero incidents on Plum Island and zero motor vehicle accidents,” said Newbury Sgt. Patty Fisher.

In Newburyport, the city’s parking ban was lifted at noon yesterday, after taking effect early Saturday night. Eight cars were towed while the ban was in effect and a handful of parking violations were recorded, police said yesterday.

“Overall we did well,” Sgt. Howard Adams said yesterday. “There were no accidents reported, and no major issues on Plum Island.”

Adams and Fisher both praised their town’s Public Works crews, and Adams said workers would be on the road early to prepare them for the morning commute.

By the time the storm ended on Sunday, 9.5 inches of snow had fallen, according to Ray Whitley, of Salisbury, a local weather watcher for the National Weather Service. This gives the area a total of 11.3 inches for the season so far — a rare occurrence in December, he added.

“Normally, for the month of December, you would get 10.4 inches of snow,” Whitley said, “We came close to getting the whole month’s worth in that one storm.”

By the end of the storm, the snow had changed to freezing rain, Whitley said. “It got cold right after the storm ended; this caused the snow to ice up quite a bit.”

Typically, this month generally sees little snow events that drop an inch or two, he added, which is what we will see arrive mid-week.

“Hopefully after that, it will warm up a bit,” Whitley said.

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