By Angeljean Chiaramida
---- — Already tired public works employees are bracing for a third consecutive weekend snowstorm that will have them plowing, salting and sanding tonight into tomorrow.
While forecasts are calling for less snow than what fell during the blizzard earlier this month, this weekend’s storm is expected to bring a heavy, wet accumulation, which comes with its own set of problems, Seabrook Public Works Manager John Starkey said.
“With heavy, wet snow, branches and (electric) wires come down and power goes out,” Starkey said yesterday. “That makes for a very different situation.”
Starkey, who has been in the business of cleaning up after Mother Nature in New England for decades, said snowstorms aren’t so bad when the power stays on, as was the case for most area residents earlier this month. Families can park in front of the TV, waiting it out in a warm, cozy setting with heat and hot food, he said.
But if the power goes out, Starkey said things can get dicey pretty quickly if the house turns frigid and people have to go a couple days without a warm shower.
“Tempers get short when you’re cold and have to take cold showers,” Starkey said.
Starkey said although his crews were weary from working back-to-back weekends clearing roads, his men were still diligent yesterday, affixing plows to every vehicle that moved, fueling up and taking on loads of sand and salt. With all the preparations out of the way, he said crews can immediately start tending to snow-covered roads when the time comes.
The same scenario was playing out in Salisbury yesterday, the town’s Public Works Director Don Levesque said. Even though nearly all of Salisbury’s $99,000 snow budget for this year has been spent, Levesque said that won’t interfere with the town’s ability to fully react to tonight’s storm.
The blizzard earlier this month hit state-owned Salisbury Beach especially hard, affecting areas that had never before been damaged by previous storms. Following that storm, selectmen expressed their concern for the beach itself and the homes abutting it.
Although the dunes protected many oceanfront homes toward the middle part of North End Boulevard during that storm, Selectman Jerry Klima said the formations took a beating, leaving them seriously, and even dangerously, eroded.
Klima said if more storms hit in quick succession, the already eroded dunes might fail completely, leaving homes at risk.