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March 20, 2013

Winter's last blast brings 6-10 inches of snow

Last day of season brings new coat of snow

The winter of 2012-2013 went out with a bang Tuesday.

On the last calendar day of the season, and with spring on the calendar if not in the air today, Cape Ann was blanketed with the winter’s fifth major snowstorm, leaving about 6 to 10 inches of new snow.

The storm forced schools in both Rockport and Gloucester to open with two-hour delays, while the Manchester Essex Regional School District canceled classes altogether.

Tuesday marked the first two hour delay in both Rockport and Gloucester, but each district has also had a total of four cancellations, school officials said. Rockport school officials said Tuesday that will extend the school year by four days in June; Gloucester officials could not be reach to confirm how they will handle the scheduling.

The Tuesday storm added another complication to snow-clearing efforts, with public works officials wrestling again with a forecast that varied wildly even into Tuesday morning.

Gloucester Department of Public Works Director Mike Hale said that, while, storms usually lessen as the season comes to a close, this year has proven quite different, and the latest snow cleanup could be expected to last the next few days.

Hale said city officials can recognize the inconvenience of a possible parking ban, plowing Gloucester’s streets is harder with on street parking allowed. Gloucester did not, however, declare a snow emergency or implement a parking ban this time around.

“It’s always easier to plow when there are no cars in the road,” he said. “At the same time, you don’t want to overreact.”

Rockport fared well through the storm, according to director of the Department of Public Works, Joe Parisi.

Parisi said that, coupled with the two hour delay and early sanding and plowing schedules, the roads throughout town were stable. The town employs roughly 20 people that operate snow and ice removal equipment, Parisi said. The snow, he said, was more bearable this time around, the slushy situation allowed for easier plowing.

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