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Region weathers ice storm after rainy day Tuesday

  • Cole Griffin of Jaffrey's Griffin Property Management checks the payload of his sander before getting to work in the parking lot of Saint Patrick Church Wednesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • Leanna Coolen, 26, of Jaffrey, was traveling eastbound on Howard Hill Road in Jaffrey on Tuesday afternoon when her vehicle rolled, landing on its driver's side, due to the icy conditions caused by the freezing rain. She was not injured, according to police. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Courtesy photo—

  • Courtesy photo—



Wednesday, January 24, 2018 6:19PM

Tuesday’s heavy rain nearly led to a major ice storm, as over an inch of precipitation coated the region with a sheen, knocking out power in some areas and creating a bevy of car accidents. Overnight temperatures right around 30 degrees kept the icing from becoming too serious, and by Wednesday, the threat appeared to be averted. Nonetheless, it was impactful.

Cole Griffin of Griffin Property Management in Jaffrey said he and his crew have dropped about 15 yards  – over 30,000 pounds – of sand in area driveways and parking lots since Tuesday night. Normally, he’d travel in his plow truck with a salt dispenser in the bed while a crew member drives their sander, but after the storm, Griffin loaded his truck with sand, too, for a double-barreled approach.

Griffin said the company has core plowing and sanding clientele, but that this week brought in a flurry of new customers who were scrambling to find a sander after the icy mix made roadways slick.

“We’ve had quite a few calls this week, ”  Griffin said. “They don’t realize how bad it is until the next day.”

Griffin said he employs about five guys, and that the crew has essentially been working around the clock since the weather turned. Griffin said this week has been a succession of late nights and early mornings for him, too.

Even though the weather had largely passed on Wednesday, Griffin and other members of the crew, were still out on the roads laying a combination of sand, salt, or calcium. He said they would likely be out all day keeping up with the accounts.

 

The icy conditions caused issues for drivers on Tuesday.

Leanna Coolen, 26, of Jaffrey, was traveling eastbound on Howard Hill Road in Jaffrey on Tuesday afternoon when her vehicle rolled, landing on its driver's side, due to the icy conditions caused by the freezing rain. She was not injured, according to police.

Icy roads also caused trouble for Mason’s school bus number 2 on Tuesday afternoon, as it struggled and ultimately failed to make it’s way up Campbell Mill Road.

On its first pass, said Mason Elementary School Principal Kristen Kivela, the bus wasn’t able to make it up the hill on that road. 

“She was smart enough not to keep trying after not being able to make it once,” said Kivela, of the bus driver, who she said pulled over and called for the town highway to come and sand the hill before making another attempt – this one successful. The wait resulted in the bus schedule being behind by about 45 minutes. 

Icy conditions led to delayed openings at local schools on Tuesday and Wednesday and cancellation of afterschool activities such as sporting events on Tuesday.

Dublin Police Chief Tim Suokko said Wednesday morning that his department responded to ice-related events on Tuesday.

The first was a downed tree at about 1:30 p.m. on Route 137 near Goldmine Road. Suokko said the road was closed for about an hour, as police had to wait for DOT to remove the tree.

There was also a minor accident on 7:30 p.m., a result of black ice. No one was hurt, according to Suokko.

“[Road crews] were doing a good job,” said Suokko. “We were pretty lucky. The rain kept causing [salt and sand] to wash off the road.”

More than 38,000 Eversource customers throughout the state lost power since the beginning of the ice event, according to Martin Murray, Eversource media relations manager. 

Eversource crews worked overnight Tuesday into Wednesday leaving about three dozen customers without power as of Wednesday morning, although Murray did admit that several hundred new customers had lost power in the morning. 

“This was a somewhat typical ice weather event,” said Murray. 

Murray said less customers were likely affected than in years past due to the company’s investment in auto-switching gear, which segments customers into smaller blocks of powerlines, allowing for control centers to reroute power around trouble spots. 

“We try to have a redundant system,” said Murray.

About 300 Temple residents lost power due to the ice storm and downed wires, according to public posts by John Kieley, Temple’s emergency management director. The outages were caused by tree limbs coming down on wires.

Houses in the southern end of town, near the Greenville line, and in the area of Cutter Road, were affected. It was also reported that at least some residents had lost telephone service. Power was back on for residents within a few hours, however, Kieley reported.