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Snowmageddon 2011: One Year Later

Last February's blizzard dumped more than 20 inches on Hinsdale and Clarendon Hills, but it could've been a lot worse, the villages' public works departments say.

Hinsdale public works director George Franco said the snow fell for 20 hours. In Clarendon Hills, assistant director Brian Wagner said between 20 and 21 inches accumulated.

It was Snowmageddon 2011 and it happened one year ago. (That was a quick 12 months.)

“I gotta be honest, we got pretty lucky,” Wagner said Thursday, crediting the village’s advance warning about the storm for the lack of equipment failures. “We had a lot of time to repair and go over everything twice to make sure everything was working properly.”

There were six trucks plowing Clarendon Hills roads at any time between 2 p.m Feb. 1 and 3 p.m. Feb. 2. In Hinsdale, 14 trucks were circulating, Franco said.

“It took us a good 18 to 20 hours to remove all the snow from the roadways, open up the parking lots, and remove the majority of snow from the downtown business districts,” Franco said.

Wagner said his department had learned its lesson during earlier storms and brought in cots before the blizzard so plow drivers could grab two-hour “cat-naps” in between shifts.

“I personally brought a sleeping bag and pillows,” Wagner said.

Sounds comfy.

In fact, both Franco and Wagner thought Snowmageddon 2011 went as comfortably as it could in Hinsdale and Clarendon Hills, mostly because businesses listened to the advice of meteorologists and sent employees home before the nasty stuff hit.

“The residents in our community and other surrounding communities called it a snow day,” Franco said.

Wagner said that while most people are of the I’ll-believe-it-when-I-see-it mindset regarding big snow storms, they weren’t for Snowmageddon 2011. Everyone seemed 100 percent sure it was coming. And if they hadn’t, it could’ve been a mess.

“If there’s cars out there doing 3 miles per hour or blocking the street, you can’t do a dang thing to clear the snow,” Wagner said.

But the snow in Hinsdale and Clarendon Hills did get cleared () and life moved on.

Now, with Snowmageddon one year behind us, temperatures are downright springy.

“I got a big grin on my face this morning when I heard on the radio it was going to be 48 degrees today,” Wagner said.

No-mageddon is Good-mageddon.

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