Post-blizzard storm #1 passed through yesterday, giving us freezing rain, then sleet, then a burst of snow, then rain. Altogether it amounted to an inch of glop. It kept our road crews too busy salting the streets to do any “winging back.”

“Winging back” is when a wing-plow on the sides of the trucks push the snow banks at the sides of a street away from the roads, so there will be room to push the next storm’s snow. Back in the old days, before trucks had such plows, streets grew narrower and narrower during snowy winters, until oncoming cars had trouble passing each other, and diplomacy was required.

Modern trucks are more powerful, and streets tend to stay wider. Also people tend to lose their mailboxes on bad winters. Even stone walls can be tumbled back. The drivers have to be careful when passing some of the old houses, which in some cases are built right by the street, because they have the power to push a two hundred year old house off its foundations.

We were fortunate during the blizzard because, unlike Boston, it remained cold up here. Boston’s first foot of snow was of the heavy and wet variety, as the sea brought their temperatures up near 32, until the storm sucked in cold air and Boston’s temperatures fell to 19 (F). Here in the hills it never got higher than 18 degrees, and all our snow was powder.

Yesterday that powder sagged, and was topped by an extra inch of gloppy snow and sleet. It now holds more water, even if it is less deep. Temperatures barely dipped below freezing last night, as storm #1’s cold front wasn’t all that strong, however the snow banks at the sides of the streets are heavier and starting to get crunchy.

If the snow banks turn to iron-hard ice, the wing plows have a harder time moving them. The situation, which occurred in 1978, could reoccur, (when the first blizzard’s banks are in the way of the second blizzard’s plowing.)

A light snow could dust us tomorrow, and then all eyes will be on a storm coming this weekend.

Our happy-go-lucky country road crews had it fairly easy this winter, up until five days ago. Now they’ll be earning their tax-dollars, right at the time of year when local tax-payers meet to gripe about the budget.


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