February 10. 2013 12:13AM

Extra plows keep Nashuans on the road

Sunday News Correspondent

Some shovel, others observe, all anticipate the clearing of the snow that fell on Greater Nashua, from Friday to Saturday morning. (SIMON RIOS/Union Leader Correspondent)

NASHUA - About 50 additional snow plows were brought into Nashua on Saturday to help dig out of a snowstorm which dumped 2 feet of the white stuff throughout the city.

"This is the worst I have ever seen it - easily. It was very bad (Friday) night, with whiteout conditions and wind drifts causing big issues for our drivers," said Roy Sorenson, streets superintendent for the Nashua Public Works Department. "The wind is just howling out there."

About 110 city workers were on hand Saturday to help clear the streets of snow, but Sorenson stressed that it would be a lengthy process. Encouraging residents to remain patient, he said the main plow routes were still being cleared as of noon on Saturday.

"We are just really catching up. We have a ways to go," said Sorenson. "Our guys have been here around the clock. They have been great."

In anticipation of the major snowfall, Sorenson said, the city was able to hire additional contractors to bring in extra snowplows on Saturday. Up to 50 more plows were available, enabling a fleet of up to 85 city plows helping to rid the roads of snow.

Because of the heavy amount of snow, Sorenson said, his department will still be removing and relocating snow - especially in and around Main Street - throughout today and Monday.

"Monday, we will have to take another look at this, clear some corners and move some of the snowbanks, including a lot of parking lot work," he said Saturday. "But I haven't even begun thinking about that yet."

Fortunately, most people were staying off the roadways during the morning hours on Saturday, according to Sorenson, which helped crews clear the streets quicker. Early Saturday morning, when winds were at their worst, it was typical for plow drivers to finish clearing a street and already have 4 to 5 inches back on pavement because of the drifting snow conditions, he said.

With a snow emergency in effect, only two cars were towed throughout the night, he said, thanking residents for adhering to the warnings.

Despite the 24 inches of snow that fell, officials said the storm could have been significantly worse.

"I was up until 2 a.m. waiting for some big power outages and limbs coming down like Snowtober, but none of that happened. It was just a lot of snow," said Justin Kates, emergency management director. "It was pretty uneventful from my perspective."

Kates anticipated that a shelter would need to be opened on Saturday, but that was not the case because only brief and minor power outages were reported. Officials were still encouraging residents to stay home on Saturday and allow crews to do their job, stressing one car stuck in the roadway could prevent emergency vehicles from getting through.

Nashua police said they had only a handful of minor accidents early Saturday morning.

"Overall, it was really quiet. We had nothing major to deal with," said Sgt. Shawn Hill, noting many of the major roads were well-paved by Saturday afternoon, when people began venturing out.

Jim Kamari, owner of Ciao's Pizza and Subs at 495 Amherst St., said the blizzard conditions weren't going to prevent his restaurant from serving food. The shop stayed open until 9 p.m. Friday, with pizza still being delivered to customers throughout the brunt of the storm.

"It wasn't too bad. My driver didn't complain," said Kamari. "It actually got busy. We were surprised."

Ciao's was open Saturday, as well, and the owner was expecting a larger crowd in the evening once residents had a chance to dig out of their driveways.

"The roads were clear. I didn't have any problem getting in," he added, praising the crews for their hard work.