Snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, the building of snow forts -- if there's a pastime involving winter and the woods, you can do it in the tiny Berkshires town of Savoy.
That's why, one resident said, the three feet of snow dumped there by Wednesday's nor'easter – the largest amount that fell anywhere in Massachusetts -- is far from a burden. In fact, it's a treat.
“You look forward to it, because it brings everyone to town,” said Ronna Tynan, office manager at Savoy Town Hall. “It’s the big thing.”
Nearly half of Savoy is a state forest, she said. And when it snows, this quiet town of 800 comes to life.
The town battened down the hatches on Wednesday, of course, as 38.5 inches of soft snow fell, according to preliminary measurements by the National Weather Service.
“There was really no one out yesterday,” Tynan said. “It was like a ghost town.”
Even a local ski resort had to close because there was too much snow to run the lifts.
“The kids couldn’t throw snowball fights because it was too fluffy. They couldn’t sled because it was too soft, they would sink,” she said.
When driving to her neighbor’s house in the morning, Tynan said, she couldn’t even see the roads.
But she said the three-man plowing team in Savoy is accustomed to mass quantities of snow, and was able to clear the roads right away. “They are used to it,” she said.
Second place in the snow accumulation department went to the inaptly named small town of Florida, at the other end of the state forest, with a preliminary total of 33 inches.
In Cheshire, which adjoins savoy, David Lennon, said, “We got the jackpot. When I woke up in the morning, I couldn’t believe how heavy it snowed.”
Lennon, 67, said he and his wife spent the entire day digging out their driveway. They shoveled, used the snow blower, and then removed the rest of the snow with a plow.
“I always have enough shovels, enough gas for the snow blower ahead of time,” he said. “Most people around here are like that.”
He said the light snow was easy to dig, but that as he and his wife dug deeper they found that the flakes had compacted.
“You could feel the weight of it,” Lennon said.
And despite all of their efforts yesterday, Lennon said he and his wife still need to clear their deck.
“It will take us days to clear out, but you just go at your pace and don’t overdo it,” he said.
Joe Villani, a meteorologist at the Albany National Weather Service, said, "We are talking about some extraordinarily impressive snowfall amounts.”
He said snow fell at an average rate of 2 to 4 inches per hour Wednesday morning. At the same time, the entire storm only lasted 24 hours.
“Snow events like this do not happen every year, with such great amounts for such a short time,” said Villani. “It’s very rare to have 2.5, 3 feet of snow in a 24-hour period.”
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