The ‘Blizzard’ That Bombed


coaster-news-200-newBy JOSEPH SAPIA

The Madello family of Avon was going on a cruise this week to Key West in Florida and Nassau in the Bahamas.

Not that they need the warmer weather, though. On Wednesday, in 27 degrees, the family — dad Dylan, 40; mom Mikhael, 35; and daughters, Scarlett, 4, and Elise, 2 — were visiting the playground on the Avon beach.

Mikhael said she thought it was easier “to be in the snow than in the house with the pent-up energy” her daughters have.

“We’re just giving the kids some exercise,” Dylan said. “They seem to be more behaved (this way). They love the park and we built a snowman.”

Perhaps not playing on the beach, but others, too, seemed to be taking the blizzard that bombed in stride.

“It was medium, I guess,” said Casey Hewitson, speaking of the Monday-Tuesday storm that left an estimated 7 to 10 inches in the area, rather than up to 2 or 3 feet mentioned as the high end in forecasts. “It wasn’t too bad.”

Hewitson, 38, is a carpenter and maintenance man at the Brandywine Commons building on Route 33 in Neptune, where he was shoveling snow Wednesday morning. He also had been plowing snow on the site.

“I don’t know if it was a bust, (but) it wasn’t what they said,” Hewitson said. “Weather’s a tricky thing.”

Neptune Township Clerk Richard J. Cuttrell, who also is the townhip meteorologist, would agree.

Cuttrell, who operates the Tri-State Storm Watch website, had predicted 16 to 24 inches locally. His Shark River Hills house in Neptune had 8.5 inches and he estimated the area in general got 7 to 10 inches.

As Cuttrell said on his website Tuesday, “Well, this one is not going on the resume….”

Basically, according to Cuttrell, the slim north-south band of intense snow, with a drop-off outside of it, took a “last-minute, 75-mile shift” to the east Monday night. So, central Long Island, sitting farther to the east “got 20 inches of snow,” Cuttrell said.

“We basically missed 20-inch counts by 30 miles,” or being 30 miles to the west of the snow band, Cuttrell said.

In giving a forecast, Cuttrell said he puts out “the most likely scenario,” rather than opposing extremes.

“If a forecaster does that, he’s basically giving himself an out,” Cuttrell said.

Various computer models could be giving different forecasts, but Cuttrell said, “To me, it’s too confusing when you put out all these.”

Both Hewitson and Ray Dulmage, who works for PS Property Maintenance of Neptune, agreed the dry, powdery snow of this storm was easy to move.

“It’s just the wet stuff is heavier, you can’t snow-blow (as easily),” said Dulmage, 36, who was shoveling a sidewalk on Woodland Avenue in Avon. “This pushes easier. You can make mountains out of this. It’s definitely better to work with.”

This storm produced powdery snow because the temperatures were colder — low to upper 20s near the ground, for example — meaning the snow deos not compact, Cuttrell said.

The people outside said the cold did not bother them.

“I’m used to it, as long as it’s not windy,” Hewitson said. “It’s (shoveling’s) good exercise.”

“Believe it or not, (I am) from Florida, the cold doesn’t bother me,” Dulmage said. “If I was home (in Florida) right now, I’d be walking around in shorts.”

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