Morning snow creates a messy commute
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Snow has been falling all Monday morning and that has VTrans crews out plowing roads.
Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a holiday for many, and that means if you don’t have anywhere to go, crews recommend you stay home.
Todd Law with the Vermont Agency of Transportation says just like with any winter storm, take it slow.
“Give yourself more time. Make sure you drive well below the posted speed limits. During these storms, the roadways are going to be compromised, traveling is compromised. And then provide yourself adequate space between you and vehicles around you, including the plows, don’t crowd the plow, don’t crowd or tailgate the person in front of you. Then don’t make any drastic movements, don’t slam on the brakes, don’t swerve left or right,” said Law.
Law says the latest surge in COVID-19 cases is taking its toll on his team.
“We have quite a few people that are out because of illness. So, we’ve been monitoring how many people are out, and pulling all kinds of volunteers and additional staffing that we have,” Law said. “But this could be difficult depending on when it starts and when it ends.”
VTrans is also activating the state’s chain-up law for tractor-trailers. That’s for drivers who plan to hit Route 9 between Bennington and Wilmington on Monday.
That means tires must be chained on any truck that weighs more than 26,000 pounds.
State officials will notify drivers when chains are no longer required.
Many Vermonters were out preparing Sunday, getting groceries and making sure their snow gear is ready to go.
“We came down here because all the other stores usually have empty shelves, and this is usually a good spot to get what we need,” Marcia Flynn said. “We’re trying to hunker down for the storm, so we’re just getting prepared.”
“I’m just making sure all my batteries are plugged in [and] my backups, so I can get my snowblower out there and just help a few friends out beside my house with their driveways,” John Boivin said.
Over in New Hampshire, state police say speed limits have been reduced on interstates. It’s now 45 mph on I-89 and I-93.
Police say roads are snow-covered and visibility is down to about a quarter-mile. That’s because of the heavy snow and windy conditions.
PREPARING FOR IMPACT
Vermont Gas Systems is reminding residents to:
- Keep gas meters free from snow and ice – Use a broom, not a shovel, to clear snow from your meter assembly and vents. Make sure whoever plows snow knows the location of gas meters.
- Keep exterior sidewall vents clear – If a vent becomes buried in snow or blocked otherwise, equipment may shut down or draw exhaust fumes into a home.
- Test smoke alarms – It is important to have smoke alarms on every level of the home, inside each sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. If possible, smoke alarms should be interconnected so when one sounds, they all sound.
- Test carbon monoxide alarms – Carbon monoxide (CO) is colorless, odorless and tasteless. Exposure to even small quantities of CO can cause flu-like symptoms. Higher levels can be dangerous. Test and replace CO detectors as recommended. Properly maintain and vent your appliances. Never use a gas stove to heat your home and do not use a generator indoors or near the home. If you suspect CO poisoning, call 911 or local fire department, seek fresh air and remain outside.
- Report all gas leaks - Natural gas and propane have an odor similar to that of rotten eggs. If you suspect a gas leak, leave the area, call 911 and contact your fuel supplier.
Green Mountain Power says it has already positioned some teams across the state ahead of the storm, so crews can quickly respond to outages and downed power lines or trees. You can use the GMP app on your mobile device to report outages and track power restoration times. You can also check the status of other power companies here.
“Making sure we can respond for customers is why we track multiple forecasts for days in advance. Safety is the top priority for everyone, and we want customers to be alert to the changing weather conditions and always stay far away from any downed lines or trees as they may still be energized. Call us to help,” said Mike Burke, GMP’s vice president of field operations.
The company recommends customers have the following on hand:
- A charged cellphone
- Flashlights with fresh batteries
- Bottled water
Meanwhile, in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul, D-New York, says the state’s crews are ready to clear roads, but she asks you to avoid traveling if you can.
“We’re going to be in a situation that’s somewhat unpredictable. We’re monitoring the weather very, very closely to see where resources need to be deployed. We’re very strategic about this,” Hochul said.
Hochul also recommends packing blankets, food and other supplies if you must travel on Monday in case you get stuck.
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