Whiteout conditions on I-89, temperatures hit bitter cold, warming shelters available

Published: Dec. 24, 2022 at 10:14 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermonters who trekked through treacherous road conditions on their Friday night commute home were met with whiteout conditions on Interstate 89. It deteriorated quickly as the temperature plummeted. If you have to hit the road, the Agency of Transportation has reminders.

“Slow down. When you do come, allow more time when you do come. And don’t crowd the plow” said Joe Flynn, of the Agency of Transportation.

Crews will be working through Friday night to clear roadways, but even they are having traveled troubles as trucks and plow utilities continue restoration.

“So we’re seeing damage across the state. And crews have just been going at it throughout the day in very difficult conditions.”

Green Mountain Power says since Friday morning, crews have restored power to 60,000 customers but the storm keeps fighting back. Vermont’s electric grid was hit with a double whammy, first high winds taking downed power lines across the state, followed by a flash freeze and heavy snowfall.

“They won’t stop until everybody’s back on” said Kristin Kelly, of Green Mountain Power.

Green Mountain Power urges customers practice patience. Crews are working around the clock to keep up.

“It is likely this is a multi day restoration effort because this is just widespread damage across the state” adds Kelly.

If you don’t have heat or electricity centers, overnight shelters have popped up across the state like one in Barre. “We are providing a safe place for anyone to get away from the storm if you’re without power. If you don’t have a safe place to be. Come here and be with us” says John Keppler, of the American Red Cross.

The overnight shelters offer a place for people and pets in need a safe place to sleep. Anyone in Vermont can use it and the Red Cross recommends bringing the essentials like extra clothes, blankets and chargers. They do say though if you need to drive or walk to them, travel cautiously.

“That’s going to have to be a judgment call. From where you are and if if not I would say hunker down” adds Keppler. If you’re still in the dark this weekend, the volunteers say they’ll keep the lights on and don’t hesitate.

“If you can make it here safely. We’d love to have you.”

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