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Zoram Grgic of Manchester tries to avoid the billowing spray from his snowblower outside his home on Friday morning. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

Mind-numbing cold helps make snowstorm a pain

MANCHESTER — It took a herculean effort on the part of highway department workers to keep up with the 29-hour storm dubbed Hercules that dumped about eight inches of snow on the city and included frigid temperatures that prevented salt from melting built-up ice.

"It was a long storm," said Public Works Director Kevin Sheppard. "It may be a little more expensive because of the duration of the storm but we do what's necessary to try and keep the streets safe."

As of early Friday afternoon, Sheppard said the city's roads were in "pretty good shape" with main roads open and side streets looking good.

"There's still some cleanup to do, and we will continue to work on that," he said.

The city had about 45 pieces of equipment out during the storm, plowing and salting the city's 400 miles of streets. Because of the storm's duration, Sheppard said staffing was a concern, especially because another six hours was needed for the final cleanup after the snow ended.

Frigid temperatures also posed a problem because it prevented the salt from melting ice, Sheppard said.

Between 150 and 155 vehicles were towed during the snowstorm, about the norm, according to police Lt. Maureen Tessier.

This year's snow removal budget is $1.2 million and Sheppard estimates the city has spent between 20 and 25 percent of it so far.

He said he won't know what the exact cost of the storm cleanup is for several days.

Snow removal cost the city $550,000 in 2012, $1.2 million in 2011, $900,000 in 2010 and close to $1.8 million in 2009.

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