The first first major snow fall of this winter season and 2022 was, as Beverly Public Services commissioner and funnyman Mike Collins said, "all white."

"We got enough," Collins said, when asked if he had a read on how much snow had fallen by 1 p.m. Friday.

In the midst of the storm, as it tapered off Friday afternoon, Gloucester Public Works Director Mike Hale said, "We are still in the operation now." He said north and far eastern sections of Gloucester had gotten about 4 inches at that time, West Gloucester and Magnolia a little more.

Close to a foot of snow fell elsewhere on the North Shore in the year's first accumulating snowfall, according to Salem meteorologist Arthur Francis, who reported 10 inches on the ground by noontime. 

The first heavy snow hit around 3:30 a.m. Friday "and was associated with a fast-moving storm that had intensified rapidly," Francis said. "The storm was not the usual northeaster type, since there was little wind."

Hale called the storm's early morning arrival tough for Gloucester schools, which were closed Friday, as were other districts on Cape Ann.

In an email just after 1 p.m. Friday, Gloucester Mayor Greg Verga said he had spoken to Hale around noon.

"He said the streets are looking good," Verga said. "He also mentioned that we are down some drivers due to COVID but we have enough drivers/equipment out on the road."

The snow bands presented an early challenge for crews on the road, according to Dave Knowlton, director of public works in Salem. 

"It came in really hard early in the morning, (there) was a lot of snow early," Knowlton said. "But it has been this light, fine snow for most of the morning and early afternoon. Unfortunately, it isn't going to get warm until probably Sunday, so we'll probably be dealing with some freeze-ups."

Temperatures were expected to hit the mid-teens overnight Friday into Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. They wouldn't get past the mid-20s, but come Sunday afternoon, the temperature was forecast to hit 40 with about a 20% chance of rain.

All that considered, things should wash out well for cleared sidewalks and driveways by Sunday. The snow that fell was light, Francis said, "making it easy to remove from walkways."

Communities saw mixed results with parking enforcement.

The Gloucester mayor reflected on the city's response to Friday's snowstorm, his first as mayor. With a parking ban that went into effect in the city from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Verga said he had gotten a few calls, emails and Facebook messages about on-street parking, which he referred to the police chief.

"Closing schools and calling for a parking ban are never fun things to do," Verga said, "but I firmly believe we made the right call on this one. We planned ahead, watched the forecast and made the decision as early as possible to ensure that parents and residents had as much time as possible to plan."

Salem had few issues with a parking ban that took effect at 7 a.m. Friday and was expected to be lifted by early evening.

"The residents have done a great job. They stayed off the roads," Knowlton said. "They allowed us the space we needed."

That was less so in Beverly, where police ticketed several cars for violating the parking ban, according to Collins. But this is common for the first storm of the year.

"Usually this is kind of the routine we go through. We ticket a bunch of people the first storm, and the next storms get better and better," he said. "They get the memo. This isn't unusual."

What also isn't unusual is the annual warning to not shovel or throw snow into the road, a plea Collins put out on a call he issued to all residents about the storm: "Please do not ever put the snow in the roadway; that’s not something we should need to keep saying at this point, but clearly it is."

"There were a number of people snow-blowing and turning the chutes into the road," Collins said, regarding the reminder. "We're still amazed every storm. We go out there, and for whatever reason, we'll go by, get the road clear, and then turn around and a snowblower has put a bunch of snow in the road. Then, they call us saying the road is a mess."

Gloucester and Rockport issued reminders to residents and businesses to clear the sidewalks and fire hydrants adjacent to their properties.

 

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