Grafton Gets Ready For 'Historic' Blizzard

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A mountain of road salt, sitting in the DPW yard, is ready for the big storm. Photo Credit: Richard Price
At Koopman Lumber and Hardware, four generators sit ready to be picked up by their new owners. Photo Credit: Richard Price

GRAFTON, Mass.—Just outside the Grafton Department of Public Works barn is a mixed pile of road salt and dirt.  On Thursday, Phil Picard, a 53 year resident, filled two white buckets and then placed them in the back of his car.

He said the DPW, as a habit, leaves some out for residents to sand their driveway and walkway.

“They should,” Picard said. “We paid for it with our taxes.”Picard, like almost everyone in Grafton, is getting ready for a snowstorm that the National Weather Service has said has the potential to be “historic”.

As of mid-day on Thursday, their latest forecast has been upgraded to a blizzard watch in Worcester County from Friday morning to Saturday afternoon with total accumulations of 18 to 24 inches. At its height, visibility could drop to less than a quarter mile and “very strong winds up to hurricane force are possible,” they said.

Superintendent James Cummings announced at 2 p.m. that Grafton schools will be closed on Friday.

Inside the DPW, Joe Maynard, a supervisor, said their supplier dropped two loads of sand and salt on the property yesterday.  Workers were scurrying as they inspect and repair their equipment for what weather forecasts are calling to be slow moving with the potential to drop up to 3 inches an hour during the storm’s height.

Maynard said he remembers some big storms 10 years ago but said this will be the biggest he will experience on the job.

“We have 13 trucks ready to go,” he said adding that plow drivers have to take breaks every 13 hours.  He then said there won’t be much opportunity for rest when it starts to really come down.

At Koopman Lumber and Hardware, manager Curt LaBastie said power generators were selling fast. “I sold four since 9:30 this morning,” he said.  Around him workers were testing, assembling, and then rolling them out on the pick-up dock at the back of the store. He also said propane, snow shovels and driveway salt were big sellers.

In Upton, near the Grafton line, a worker for the Mass Department of Transportation, who didn’t want to give his name, told a reporter when asked if they were ready, joked, “This one will blow out to sea.”
Behind him, an 18 wheel tractor trailer emptied its payload of road salt in a three story barn.

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