Emergency Management

New Haven’s Record Snow Fall

We were recently cited in the New Haven Register (as Grey Wall Software) with an astounding statistic regarding the amount of snow that accumulated in the City of New Haven, our partner and home town.

816 million pounds of snow on the city’s streets! (And in case you’re curious, the “nuclear physicist at Grey Wall Software” is our very own CEO, Sukh Grewal.)  That’s 3 tons of snow that needed to be plowed/removed for every person living in New Haven!

What’s our interest in the snow?  Well, it’s pretty straightforward.  Veoci, our emergency management software solution, was being used 7×24 in the New Haven EOC during preparations for, response to, and recovery from the storm.  Being able to quickly determine passable/impassable routes was absolutely vital to figuring out how best to handle prioritized assignments.  Instructions to get a patient to the dialysis center required, first, ascertaining that a path was available to get there, and second, providing the necessary resources to dig a path through all that snow.  You could easily say we had snow on our minds (and our coats, and roofs, and everywhere else you can think of).  And we still do…

Veoci - virtual EOC - Map Interface Screenshot Blizzard 2013 aka "Nemo"
Type image caption here (optional)

So where did that figure of 816 million pounds come from?  Here’s how.

  • New Haven covers 20.31 square miles
  • There are 5,280 feet in a mile, which equals 566,210,304 square feet
  • 3 feet of snow fell, meaning 1,698,630,912 cubic ft of snow
  • Water weighs 62.4 pounds per cubic ft; dry snow is 0.07  water (this is a conservative estimate, most observers categorized the snow as “wet”)
  • Therefore, the snow in New Haven weighed 4.37 pounds per cubic ft
  • In total, then, 7,419,619,824 pounds of snow fell on New Haven

With these numbers, and taking into account that 11% of New Haven’s surface area is paved, we determined that 816,158,181 pounds (or 408,079.09 tons) of snow fell on the 11% of NH that is paved.  [See City of New Haven Complete Streets Design Manual, page 15.  This is a great article for understanding some of the nuances and difficulties of clearing streets and managing traffic flow in New Haven, whose street system was largely established before motor traffic took over.]

No matter how you look at it, it’s a pretty amazing figure.  And it’s a testament to everyone’s hard work that New Haven was able to dig out and get back to normal as quickly as it did.

For more information about Grey Wall Software & New Haven’s partnership, and how the City of New Haven used Veoci – virtual EOC to respond to Superstorm Sandy , have a look at this article in the New Haven Independent.

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