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Region braces for major winter storm

How you can track road conditions and see when plows will arrive
Published: Dec. 16, 2020 at 11:06 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 16, 2020 at 5:49 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The region is bracing for its first major winter storm of the season that is expected to snarl transportation across much of the Northeast.

The southern parts of Vermont will get the brunt of it here. Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories have been issued for southern areas of our region and officials say travel will become difficult overnight for much of the area, especially the Thursday commute.

Forecasters say the brunt of the nor’easter will hit Wednesday evening with southern areas of our region seeing the most snow. Parts of Rutland and Windsor counties could see upward of a foot of snow, with possibly even more near the Massachusetts border. Central areas will end up with 3 to 6 inches of snow, and there will be hardly any accumulation near the Canadian border.

VTrans tells us they have plenty of salt and the plows are ready. They remind drivers to take it slow and to remember not to crowd the plows.

But there are some concerns about COVID-19 and what will happen if drivers get sick.

VTrans is making sure they keep a close eye on how many staff members are in each district office, monitoring call-outs and taking all COVID-19 safety precautions.

“We’re wearing our masks all the time, the isolation distances, we want to make sure everyone is safe so our crews can be out there doing what they want to do, what they love to do,” said Todd Law of VTrans.

VTrans says they might need to call in volunteers if drivers get sick. They’re working with emergency management to make sure they have a plan for how to respond.

“One of the things that this brought out is right now we’re not expecting any level of service changes because we haven’t had any tremendous impacts but one of the things that was brought up is public outreach. So if we do have some cases that may take down a garage and we have to shift resources or we have to shift some level of service we have to get that out to the traveling public,” Law said.

TRACKING PLOWS

So how can you find out how bad the roads are in your area and when the plows will come? VTrans has some online tools to help you plan your travels.

Want to see what it’s actually doing outside and what the roads look like? Vermont has 45 webcams stationed all over the state. They are listed by roadway.

Trying to find out if a plow is near you or on its way? There’s a tool for that, too-- Plow Finder. The state has 250 plow trucks. The ones on the road are represented in yellow on the map. VTrans says its routes can take up to two hours to finish. Keep in mind towns and cities have their own plow trucks that do not show up on Plow Finder.

If you click on “Layers” at the top right, you can customize your view. There is a topographic map, street view and satellite view.

There is also New England 511. It shows Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, or you can click on an individual state to zero in on it.

Over to the right is the legend. You choose which categories to highlight, like incident. You can also see if there are any road closures. There is also a Driving Conditions tab on the right farther down the list which should populate if driving conditions deteriorate.

You can find all these links on the VTrans site called Winter Weather Central.

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