Snowfall blankets the Vineyard

First significant snow accumulation triggers arcing wires.

A Toyota 4Runner that skidded of Middle Road in Chilmark Sunday afternoon. —Rich Saltzberg

Updated 5:30 pm

Martha’s Vineyard got its first significant snowfall of the winter on Sunday. Only a couple of Island towns reported snow depth. Edgartown saw 4½ inches, and Vineyard Haven accumulated 3½ inches, according to Alan Dunham, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Norton.

The snow, which was wet and heavy, bent trees and damaged a number of electrical lines. West Tisbury first responders deployed twice for arcing wires. Chilmark and Tisbury first responders each went out once for the same problem. Martha’s Vineyard Airport closed for about two hours, according to airport director Geoff Freeman. The closure was for snow removal, Freeman said, and with notice, the airport could still have accommodated a plane during that time if the need arose. Freeman said air traffic had been light due to the storm and icing hazards.

The Steamship Authority canceled several runs of the Sankaty due to the storm. The SSA cited trip consolidation for canceling the ferry trips.

West Tisbury firefighters were dispatched to arcing wires on North Road and on John Cottle Road. 

The North Road wire was at the border with Chilmark, according to West Tisbury Fire Chief Manuel Estrella III. On John Cottle Road, the wire arced for over an hour before power could be shut down, according to West Tisbury Fire Lt. Brynn Schaffner.

Tisbury had an arcing wire between Oak Street and State Road, according to Tisbury Fire Chief Greg Leland. It had gone out before firefighters arrived, he said.

Former Chilmark Fire Chief David Norton, who was on call over the weekend, responded to an arcing wire on Tea Lane. “Eversource came up and trimmed the branches off the wire, and all was good,” he said.

All the wire outages were caused by trees, according to Eversource spokesman Reid Lamberty. “Roughly 1,000 customers lost power during the storm,” Lamberty noted. That power was restored in between “15 minutes and 2.5 hours,” he said. 

At another point on Sunday, Norton responded to an accident scene on Middle Road, where a Toyota 4Runner skidded off the road and halfway into swampland. The motorist declined medical attention, according to a Chilmark Police report. The SUV was eventually hoisted out by a JWL truck. The only damage to the SUV appears to have been where it struck a “Caution, curve ahead” sign, according to the report.

Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools issued a two-hour delay Monday morning on account of the snow. 

Three of the Island towns were spared any serious incidents. “We didn’t have any,” Oak Bluffs Deputy Fire Chief Manuel Rose said.

In Edgartown, Fire Chief Alex Schaeffer said much the same. “Quiet night,” he said.

“We had nothing,” Aquinnah Fire Chief Simon Bollin said. “It was wonderful.”

Updated with information from Eversource.



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