Raging nor’easter closed schools, included about 16 hours of continuous snowfall
A powerful nor’easter became a raging blizzard this past Saturday, bringing with it record snowfall in some parts of Massachusetts and 20 inches of snow to Malden. The nearly 16-hour snowstorm, which began late Friday night, January 28, and continued until the early evening hours Saturday, took until Monday to clean up here in Malden and in other surrounding communities.
The Malden Public Schools were closed on Monday, the city’s second public school “snow day” of the year, as announced by Mayor Gary Christenson and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Ligia Noriega Murphy. The school closure was a combination of the city’s policy of allowing the school parking lots to be used as a safe haven for residents without driveway access and to allow enough time to completely prepare the areas in and around Malden’s seven school buildings for safe access. The use of the school parking lots is a valuable took in getting vehicles off the road so Malden Department of Public Works (DPW) and privately hired plows can adequately plow the streets.
Though it was not exactly the birthday gift he was expecting, Malden DPW Director Bob Knox – a veteran of many snowstorms, large and small, in his years with the department as the longtime city “snow boss” – had praise for his crew. “Everyone worked very hard and very long to keep the roads cleared and safe for our residents and business owners,” Knox said, noting that Malden, like nearly every community in Massachusetts, was dealing with a shortage of available snowplow operators that are customarily hired from the private sector to complement the City of Malden workers.
“We were able to get through it, but it does tend to be more difficult a job when there are fewer outside operators to bring in,” Knox added.
Malden Mayor Gary Christenson, as is his custom, did join Knox on some of the snowplowing routes around the city on Saturday and commended the DPW and others for their work, especially considering the speed and magnitude of the snow. At the height of the storm, the snow came at three to four inches per hour, with Malden settling in with 20 inches of snow, all told. In Boston, the 23.6 inches of snow received at Logan Airport tied a single-day record for January 29 in all-time history. The “jackpot” community in Massachusetts was Stoughton, which topped the state’s snowfall with 30.9 inches.
City officials reported that not many vehicles were towed, as the majority of residents cooperated and adhered to the policies.
Another storm was forecast to hit the region today, but the latest forecast was for three to five inches of snow changing to a mix of freezing rain.