Stoughton Digs Out From Blizzard

Stoughton saw upwards of 18 inches of snow between Sunday and Monday. Roadways have been treated since the start of the storm, but high winds continue to complicate cleanup efforts.

The winds whipped and the snow continued to fall and fall and fall some more. It started snowing around 9 a.m. Sunday morning, pretty much uninterrupted until midday on Monday, with the brunt of the storm hitting Stoughton in the overnight hours Sunday into Monday.

Stoughton, snow covered yesterday, was left to dig out from the first major snowstorm of the season.  The Department of Public Works and independent contractors worked throughout Sunday and Monday to clear the roads, sidewalks and parking lots, but blustery winds complicated this task.

There were also pockets of power outages around town as a result of the storm.  Power is expected to be restored to most of these locations by Wednesday, according to a map of the outages from National Grid.

The DPW measured 16 inches of snow at their Central Street headquarters at 5:00 Monday morning, but by the time it had stopped snowing, Stoughton saw upwards of 18 inches of accumulation, maybe more (The Boston Globe said Brockton received 21 inches)—it was difficult to get a 100 percent accurate measurement thanks to the heavy wind blowing the snow around.

While the municipal buildings in many surrounding towns were closed, the was open for business on Monday, as was the , which opened at noon, and the , which opened at 1 p.m.

"People come to the library on days like this if they don't have heat in their house…or if they don't have a computer or of if they just need to get the kids out of the house," Pat Basler, director of the Stoughton Public Library, said. 

Seventeen libraries in the Old Colony Library Network (OCLN) were closed yesterday, making Stoughton one of the few that opened. Basler said there were "several people" waiting at the front and rear doorways when the library opened at 1 p.m.

The Town Hall was less busy, with Heather Genereux, an employee in the Town Clerk's office, estimating that only about 15 or 20 people came to the Town Hall yesterday, but the Town Hall "got a lot of phone calls asking what was open," Genereux said.

Many businesses in town were closed, however, taking a snow day. Schools were already closed for winter vacation this week.  Chemung Hill was a popular destination Monday, with Patch photographer Ken Winokur capturing dozens of children and families enjoying the winter scene behind the School (see our photo gallery by clicking ).

As of Monday evening, main roadways (i.e. Washington St. and Park St.) were for the most part clear, down to bare pavement, but snow was packed down on secondary roadways/side streets, although they were still drivable. Route 24 was mostly clear and cars were traveling near the speed limit (65 m.p.h.).

The aforementioned wind caused a problem, blowing snow back onto roads that had already been cleared. There were stretches of some roads that were clear in some spots but had patches of packed snow in others. High snow banks also narrowed the roads, but despite this, as of Monday evening, the DPW had already started to clear the sidewalks on the main roads. 

Overall, Basler was more than pleased with the job the Stoughton DPW had done with treating the town's roads. Both library parking lots (Part Street and Walnut Street) were already plowed by the time Basler arrived at the library shortly before 10 a.m. Monday morning.

"The DPW does an excellent job and no other town in the area can really come close to providing the efficient and good quality cleanup that they do," Basler said.

Basler, who lives on Bay Road in Easton, noticed a stark difference between the conditions of the roads in Easton and when she crossed over into Stoughton driving on Route 138 Monday morning.

"Easton's DPW can't hold a candle to Stoughton's when it comes to snow removal."

Her commute to work, normally 15 minutes, took 40 minutes yesterday.  Genereux, who lives on Central Street near Cobb Corner, said it took 25 minutes to get to the Town Hall yesterday, five times longer than it does on a normal workday.

Genereux said she noticed fewer cars on the road than is typical for a Monday morning.

On Sunday evening, just before the worst of the storm was about to hit, Stoughton was full of inactivity, with few cars on the road and many businesses already closed. It was a repeat scene driving through the town Monday evening.   

The National Weather Service said wind gusts reached as high as 38 m.p.h. Monday evening, with winds expected to be between 17-21 m.p.h. today, with gusts as high as 44 m.p.h. Temperatures are also expected to rise to the lower 40s by the end of the week, which could be a concern in terms of flooding and the formation of black ice, with the temperatures falling below the freezing mark at night.


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