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Winter snowfall totals double annual average

By Cole Caviston, Staff Writer

file photo Durham public works plows the UNH campus piling the snow higher and higher as the winter storms continue.
file photo
Durham public works plows the UNH campus piling the snow higher and higher as the winter storms continue.

In a year filled with constant snowstorms and curtailed operations for the University of New Hampshire, the weather in Durham was commonplace for what much of the state experienced this winter. 

Mary Stampone, an associate professor of geography at UNH, said that this year’s winter storms were particularly heavy in southern New Hampshire.

According to Stampone, nearly 100 inches of snow have been reported at weather stations along the Massachusetts border and along the Seacoast.

“Winter snowfalls totals for 2014-15 were nearly double the normal total winter snowfall across southern New Hampshire,” Stampone said.

On average, Concord receives about 61.4 inches per season through November to April. While the winter of 2007-08 still holds the record for the highest seasonal snowfall in Concord, the area accumulated from 80 to 90 inches of snow this winter.

This February, according to Stampone, will be one of the coldest Februarys on record for much of New Hampshire.

“Overall, temperatures were 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit below normal for February 2015,” Stampone said. “Concord was about 10 degrees Fahrenheit below normal for February with an average nighttime low temperature of zero degrees Fahrenheit, which is the lowest average minimum temperature for the month of February on record at Concord.”

Stampone predicts that the temperatures in March will remain below normal across the Northeast.

In Durham, the specific conditions of the winter storm determine how the town will adapt its removal responses.

“It is an art as much as a science for our hard working public works department staff members,” Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig said. “This has been an unusually severe winter to date, with back to back storm systems creating significant demand on our public works department staff and equipment.”

The usual preparations before a storm are putting salt, sand, or a mix in place on pathways. Roadways and sidewalks are plowed during the storm to keep them clear throughout its duration.

Following the storm’s conclusion, snow and ice removal begins in the downtown, typically during the evening.

The overall Durham budget for snow and ice removal in 2015 is about $218,000. According to Selig, that amount has already been used up this season.

“As of this date, we have expended the full budget allocation,” Selig said. “The budget is calculated through a rolling five year average.”

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