Blizzard of ‘22

One of our classic blog posts was the multi-author account of the “Blizzard of ‘15” which dumped 30 inches of snow on Greater Lowell from January 26 and 27, 2015. We’ve decided to cover today’s storm the same way so this post will be updated from time-to-time until the storm’s end. Please use the comments feature to share your own observations.

Notably, the blizzard featured in our 2015 post kicked off a month-long span of major storms that left Lowell with 120.6 inches of snow for that winter, the most for that winter for any city of more than 100,000 people in the entire United States, Alaska included. We hope that history won’t repeat itself.


Several times each day I scroll through Twitter, mostly for breaking news and anything else of interest. Many of those I follow are meteorologists who cover the northeast United States. Last Sunday a buzz arose from the weather people about a potential storm for this weekend. They tossed around terms like NAM, Euro, and GFS – all long-range weather prediction models – and seemed unified in the belief that the storm would be a big one.

As the work week neared its end, Boston TV weather people joined the refrain. A big storm would hit during the day on Saturday, all snow, with the only question being whether it would achieve blizzard status which is “a storm with winds of more than 35 mph for at least 3 hours with enough snow to limit visibility to 0.25 mile or less.”

Friday, January 28, 2022

Dick at 7:30 p.m. in Lowell: I took Zoe, our 10-month-old Labradoodle, out for her evening walk. It was calm with temperatures in the low 20s. In the backyard, I gathered up rubber balls and other dog toys so they wouldn’t disappear under the snow. Zoe was delighted to have her outside things brought inside.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Paul at 12:17 a.m. in Amesbury: Just in from outside after a quick rest stop for Ringo-the-dog. No flakes or sleet in the air, but the wind has gained a roar as it sweeps over the former ski hill where townhouses top the slope now. With no sounds other than the wind in our neighborhood, the predicted strong gusts feel like the leading edge of a big weather event.

Zoe with a contraband stick at the start of the storm, 5:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Dick at 5:30 a.m. in Lowell: I awoke momentarily at 1:30 a.m. and peaked out the window. The driveway was barely coated with snow with barely visible snow falling. When I got up a few minutes ago, the snow intensity had picked up only slightly but when Zoe and I went out for a short walk, a gusty wind from the north his us was we walked in that direction on Westview Road. Less than an inch of snow had fallen.

Paul at 6:04 a.m. from Amesbury: Snowing steadily now with high wind atop our hill. The snow is sticking on the roof and ground, but there’s light coverage so far. I see the street out front of our place and the ground on the short slope opposite us.


On Boston TV, one meteorologist said the snow will continue as late as 9 PM.

Plum Island residents have been urged to ride out the storm off the island. The recent storm with enormous waves damaged properties on the island and flooded sections of Hampton Beach, N.H. Our cottage close to the beach was spared because the high water came in through the low-lying marshes like the area around Markey’s and Brown’s restaurants. Up towards the business center and the bandstand, the tide pushed sand and seaweed and debris onto the sidewalk.

We had Amesbury’s robocall and storm warning text yesterday about mid-day with the news about a Snow Emergency and parking restrictions.

Due to the impending snow, there will be a snow emergency and parking ban in Amesbury starting at Midnight on January 28th and ending at 7am on Sunday, January 30th. No on-street parking is allowed during that time. 

  • The Amesbury Public Library will be closed on Saturday, January 29th 

Residents of the Central Business District with a winter parking permit may park in specified spots at Lake Gardner and the Friend Street municipal lot. Due to the continued closure of the lower level covered parking on Water Street, those with winter parking permits can park in any spot (except under the covered parking due to safety issues) in the Water Street Lot. Click here for parking maps.

  • If your power goes out, use this link to check the National Grid outage map or call (800) 465-1212 to report an outage
  • If there are downed power lines, dial 9-1-1
  • If a tree limb falls in the street, call the Police Department at (978) 388-1212
  • If your power goes out and you’re using a portable generator, make sure the exhaust isn’t near windows or doors, or in your garage
  • Make sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working and have good batteries

Marie at 7:20 a.m. from Tewksbury: A quick peek outside at 1am this morning… a dusting of new snow across the driveway but the landscape unchanged but at 7am a foggy haze of fine white snow is falling with about two inches of new snow making a wintry look to start the day. It’s 21 degrees with a real feel of 4 degrees… occasional gusty winds and an unexpected dampness… didn’t the forecast call for dry and fluffy?

Dave Daniel at 8:15 a.m. from Westford: At 6 a.m. the snow was more dream than reality, a soft dance that might’ve been leftover sleep. Still, the mercury stood at 19 and there was a half-inch dusting on the ground. Now, two hours later, the dream has substance. The game is fully afoot. The snow is small-flaked, but whirling and beginning to whip down from the eaves in skirls. The temp has dropped to 17 degrees. Little accumulation yet.

Dave at 10:15am from Westford: At 9 a.m. the first DPW truck appeared, spewing sand, rumbling up waves of snow on the street corner. Human grit in the face of adversity? Or a futile fist-shake at the temple of the Gods?

Dave’s writing cabin

Now, at 10 a.m. the majesty and menace of a winter storm is clear. Snow is blowing sideways and the wind has a saw-blade edge. I ventured out to check accumulation –about two inches — but it’s impossible to be accurate. The flakes remain small but their volume has grown. I snapped the above picture of my writing cabin.

Marie in Tewksbury: Just before 9am the snowfall is more  blowing than  falling outside my North Tewksbury windows,  I’m watching our flag in its perch on the garage – sometimes moving  just a bit other times waving and dancing… it’s a bellwether for judging the wind and storm intensity…

At 9:20 am: Alert! Just heard from my NH cousins that famed meteorologist Jim Cantore of the Weather Channel has been spotted in Boston! Wow… that scares some people because he is always where the big weather action is… so Boston  and environs – aka the Merrimack Valley –  is looking like the sweet-spot for this Blizzard of ’22…

At 10:35am: Gusty winds are howling across the landscape…. the fluffy snow is now looking like a smoke screen outside my windows…

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

3:00 p.m. Update

Paul from Amesbury at 12:30 p.m.: The plowing contractor completed a second pass in our townhouse complex, and the wind-whipped snow is flying straight across, north to south.

We’ve got about five inches on the ground.

The guys clearing the walks and front steps made a second pass also, doing well keeping up with the snowfall.

Hard to believe we might have seven more hours of this blizzard.

The narrow band of woods downhill from my place is like a sepia photograph, faded by time, the dark branches outlined against the white-out with gusts of small snowflakes smoking the foreground.

Marie from Tewksbury at 12:45 p.m. Pictures don’t do justice to the swirling snow, the howling, gusty winds and the sometimes near white out conditions up here in North Tewksbury. I’ve been engaged all morning with my CTI fellow board members and CTI team leadership in a very good annual retreat session, of course, by Zoom as the Blizzard of ’22 whips around us…. my view from the dining room windows is of the snow building up along the stone wall, of my neighbors’ home seen through a filter of white, of an occasional small truck passing on Fiske Street, of our sturdy flag flapping in the gusty winds, of the inches piling up along the garage doors and on the stoop and at the doors and of uneven drifts… the backwoods are looking like a Robert Frost poem or Shakespeare’s line ” Blow, blow, thou winter wind…”

All the forecasts seem to see the Merrimack Valley as in the 1-2′ territory…. with blizzard conditions likely at times all through the day…. many are without power especially in coastal areas… we feel relieved that after years of talking there’s a generator on-line that will take care of our entire house… so we are weathering the storm with 17-degree temps feeling like zero and that will drop in the overnight…. Stay safe my family/ friends….

Dave from Westford at 2 p.m. Just came inside after the first (and certainly not last) go at blowing out the driveway. The storm continues without let-up, but the snow is powder-fine, feather-light, with a temp of 17 degrees, so aside from the fickle whip of wind, making it tricky to decide which way to position the chute, the process went smoothly. My strategy is to go at it in a series of assaults. No sign of Arctic Wolves or Sasquatch. Yet.

Why we snowblow the backyard

Dick from Lowell at 3:30 p.m. Jim Armstrong came by earlier with his pickup truck plow to do the driveway. It’s easier to move 6 inches 3 times than it is 18 inches once. But the plow doesn’t get into the backyard so the snowblower is needed to clear some space for Zoe. As Dave observed, the snow is fine slivers of ice easily handled by the snowblower.

Next I shoveled the floor of my screened-in front porch because even though it is entirely covered by a roof, it had accumulated 2 inches of snow driven through the screens by the wind.

In the past, I’ve had trouble with ice dams but I had a new roof installed this summer so I’m hoping that’s the end of water dripping through the kitchen ceiling. I glanced up at the roof to calculate how long it might take to melt and was pleased to see hardly any snow up there. The wind just blows it off the roof as it falls.

Dick from Lowell at 9 p.m. The snow seems to have stopped but the wind is still strong and the temperature is in the single digits. We’ll call it a night and be back in the morning.

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Dick from Lowell at 5:30 a.m. It’s 4 degrees but the wind is calm. I took Zoe for a walk up the street. Our driveway is not yet plowed and we had to hurdle the snowbank at the end but the street is a solid snowpack scraped smooth by the city plows. Besides the normal beauty of new fallen snow, the distinct drifts caused by the high wind and powdery-dry snow were artistic. The National Weather Service reports 20 inches of snow in Lowell.

Paul from Amesbury at 6:30 a.m. Good morning. The snow cover here is about 14 inches with higher drifts. We had whipping snow until almost 9 PM. Long time since we have had a storm of this magnitude.

Marie from Tewksbury at 8:00 a.m. This morning after the Blizzard of ’22, North Tewksbury is a quiet, frigidly cold Winter Wonderland, We are not fully plowed and shoveled, that will happen later today and that’s just fine. We have no plans to venture out today. There was no good place, means or manner of measuring the snowfall in our environs… the plowing, drifts, gusty winds and oddness of the Blizzard of ’22 defied my trusty Jim Millinazzo yardstick… as a guess since I couldn’t find a snowfall listing for Tewksbury… 16-18 inches – maybe a bit more! There was, I’m told, a measurement of 20 inches taken this morning at the MASS DOT depot over on Clark Road near Stadium Market Basket. So we were in our own sweet spot of snowfall. I found no compulsion to have the TV weather on all day yesterday as we did back in 2015. I wonder why? The disconnect seemed comforting rather than isolating. My personal observations and the twitter and FB reports on my laptop seemed enough – no hype, no drama from Plum Island or worrying about reporters blown around by the blustery winds in Scituate. Is it a consequence of age? of not actually having to brave the elements myself to shovel knowing that our longtime “plow guy” would do the job? My vision of being out with Bill and the boys in the Blizzard of ’78 was just a memory and I wasn’t looking to make a new memory. I went to bed after SNL last night with some snow still falling and awoke to brilliant sunshine and a peaceful winter morning in New England. Amen,

One Response to Blizzard of ‘22

  1. Louise says:

    Thanks for this most vivid diary of the January 29th ’22 blizzard.
    The “majesty and menace of a winter storm” indeed!
    Something I had not experienced for decades.