2011 Review: A year of wacky weather


A group of Canton boys pose for a photo with the more seasonal jack-o-lantern and the snowman they made on the eve of Halloween. (Mary Ellen Cahill photo)

From a historically snowy winter to a visit from Irene in late August, the town of Canton experienced a variety of unusual weather events in 2011.

The year started off with a bang, with no fewer than six snowstorms in the month of January and another five in February. During that two-month stretch the town received a whopping five feet of snow, leading to a sizable deficit in its snow and ice removal budget as well as a number of school cancelations and delays. The Hansen Elementary School ended up with an additional day off due to roof damage from an early February storm, and with few other options for a makeup day in the calendar, school officials opted for an extra day of school in April — on a Saturday, no less.

Aside from a brief tornado scare in early June, the weather remained fairly predictable until late summer, when Tropical Storm Irene swept the region, downing tree limbs all over Canton and causing widespread power outages. Originally a Category 3 hurricane, Irene had weakened considerably by the time it passed over Massachusetts. But it still packed quite a punch, causing at least one injury and significant damage to a handful of homes. The storm also nearly delayed the start of a new school year at Canton High School, which was forced to rely on emergency generators for several days until power could be restored.

The unusual weather continued throughout the fall, which broke the record for the warmest autumn, according to the National Weather Service. Ironically, the town received its only snowstorm of the fall on the eve of Halloween — a messy “trick” from Mother Nature that dumped four inches of heavy, wet snow and caused as many as 3,000 power outages. The storm also caused the postponement of Temple Beth Abraham’s 23rd annual Fall Classic road race, which went off without a hitch when it was held a week later.

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