A year later, and the numbers are still staggering:
- 34 inches of snow
- $1.4 million in cleanup costs
- 49 out of Brick Township’s 72 trucks stuck in the snow
- 11 ambulances stuck in snow drifts
- 29,000 calls to town hall
The blizzard that during the late afternoon hours Dec. 26, 2010 was one for the books. The storm lasted until late morning the following day, and most Brick residents hadn't been able to leave their homes for several more days.
The township began its snow removal operation before the flakes began falling, Dec. 26, at 2 a.m. Trucks dispatched from the public works facility on Ridge Road began salting and pouring brine solution on township roads, and plows were out by late afternoon that same day. However, at 11 p.m. on Dec. 26, plows were called back after white-out conditions began causing a number of plow trucks to .
No pieces of equipment were spared. A tandem dump truck became stuck about 100 yards from the Ridge Road facility, Councilman Michael Thulen said after the storm. Officials sent a vehicle designed to retrieve disabled Army tanks to remove the tandem, but the retrieval vehicle blew its transmission during the towing operation.
At one point or another during the storm, 49 out of the township’s 72 trucks were stuck in the snow or otherwise disabled in some way, Thulen said at the time.
The township was plagued by mishaps during the snow removal operation, including reports that contractors called in to supplement municipal crews left Brick because they were to be paid more money for their services in neighboring towns. In the end, out-of-state crews were brought in to make township streets passable again, but not before residents were about what they saw as a too-slow response despite the storm's historic power.
A year later, there have been some changes.
A committee the week after the storm made some recommendations. The township is now maintaining a list of about 100 streets for prioritized plowing in order to free up routes out of neighborhoods. An emergency call center based out of the township municipal complex will field calls from residents during storms, and the township is maintaining a list of contractors that are held on standby to help public works crews remove snow.
Additionally, the township purchased two – one will be stationed on each side of town during storms – which will supplement a Hummer ambulance at the Dover-Brick EMS on the barrier island.
The communications solution that came out of the committee was during Hurricane Irene, when police officers and officials remained stationed at the to field calls from residents and manage personnel.
"We learned a lot," said Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis, when contacted by Brick Patch earlier this week. "A lot of it is about talking to people and communicating with people."
Surely, for many Brick residents who'd rather go back to those many snow-free winters of yesteryear at the Jersey Shore, there's just one solutiuon: think spring.