NEWBURYPORT — Ice melters, shovels, gloves and paint were in high demand Monday after Greater Newburyport received the first significant snowfall of the season.
Byfield received 3.5 inches of snow, while 2 inches fell in Rowley by early Monday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service
Although the snow tapered off in the afternoon, forecasters predicted it would pick up again in the evening and continue into Tuesday with the snowfall increasing overnight.
The National Weather Service expected snow to fall at a rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour Monday night into Tuesday morning with interior sections of the state seeing an accumulation of 8 to 12 inches.
Anthony Furnari, director of the Newburyport Department of Public Services, said in an email Monday that he had 24 city workers hit the streets at 7 p.m. Sunday with 20 contractors on the road as well.
Furnari said plowing begins when 2 to 3 inches of snow accumulates. With a street parking ban in place, Funari said the city did tow some vehicles during the storm Sunday night into Monday.
“Most residents paid attention to the blue lights and notifications on the city’s police and (The Daily News) website,” Furnari wrote.
Amesbury recently discontinued its winter parking ban policy – which prohibited people from parking on city streets overnight from Dec. 1 to April 1 – in favor of a snow emergency plan similar to Newburyport’s.
That plan, which also involves turning on blue lights in various parts of Amesbury to signal a ban on street parking, went into effect Sunday.
The new snow emergency policy worked well, according to Public Works Director Rob Desmarais.
“I received only one complaint from our drivers,” Desmarais said in an email. “Thank you Amesbury!”
He also said his department had 20 employees and 41 contractors on the road Monday.
Plowing began in Amesbury on Sunday at 7 p.m., and the heavy, wet snow caused several equipment failures, according to Desmarais.
Rowley Police Chief Scott Dumas said his department only recorded one, minor storm-related accident with no injuries as of Monday afternoon. But there were also a few scattered power outages.
Ten to 15 vehicles needed to be towed Monday morning on Interstates 95 and 495 because people were driving too fast for weather conditions and slid off the highway, according to Massachusetts State Police.
In Newburyport, Kelly’s True Value owner Pete Kelly said his hardware store did well over the weekend.
“People are still cleaning out from the fall, but are doing it with a new sense of urgency,” Kelly said. “We’ve had a lot of people buying leaf bags and salt and shovels at the same time.”
Kelly said Sunday was a busy day for his store but customers were in good spirits.
“We had a short day Sunday but we were full out,” he said.
Amesbury Industrial Supply Co. manager Scott Tatarczuk said his hardware shop was not open Sunday but it saw plenty of business Saturday.
“It started getting busy about 9:30 or 10 a.m.,” he said. “People were looking for the typical things – snow shovels and ice melters. We also had your typical car brushes, gloves and hats.”
Tatarczuk said his store sold about 200 snow shovels Monday.
“Somehow, everybody loses their shovel before the winter,” he said. “There’s always a big push for those at the beginning.”
Tatarczuk said his store also sold a lot of paint over the weekend.
“I don’t know what it is but whenever we have crazy rain or crazy snow, people buy a lot of paint,” he said. “I guess they are stuck in the house and they guess they’ll do some painting.”
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.