Nor’easter brings heavy snow, power outages across region
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Winter returned with a vengeance Tuesday across the region, bringing widespread power outages and dangerous driving. And more than 260 schools in our region were closed or delayed opening.
Some of the highest snow totals reported were 35 inches in Peterborough, New Hampshire, and in Ashby, Massachusetts, about 15 miles away, the National Weather Service said. At least 2 feet of snow fell in parts of northern New York and the Catskill Mountains, with Indian Lake in New York’s Adirondack Mountains recording 31 inches.
In southern Vermont, the heavy, wet snow brought down tree limbs, causing power outages and blocking roads. One toppled tree partially blocked Route 30 in Brattleboro, knocking out power across the region.
The Newfane Fire Department has been running on its generator since early Tuesday morning. “It runs the whole station, so if we need to take people in and get them warm or get them food or whatever, we can with that,” said Newfane Fire Chief Todd Lawley. Downed lines in multiple places directly across the street from the station were to blame. But Lawley says rescue crews continued to respond to calls, including a close call for one plow truck driver. “On his way back, a pine tree fell down on top of the truck and crushed it. Luckily, he got out of it and he is not seriously hurt.”
Despite the conditions, line crews have made considerable progress in turning the lights back on. By 3 p.m. Tuesday, Green Mountain Power crews had restored power to roughly 31,000 customers. “Right now, we estimate this is going to be a multi-day restoration event to get everyone powered back on,” said GMP’s Kristin Carlson.
Plow trucks were out and about in cities and towns. And for those moving it by hand, the snow was not exactly easy on the back. “Which makes it a little harder to lift. But that is ok because we get a nice little workout,” said Suzanne Lachance of Brattleboro.
“Honestly, the heaviest snow I have ever seen. It should be a new category. It should be a new category. Calling it snow is not enough,” said Anatole Hocek of Brattlebooro.
The Statehouse in Montpelier was among those places without power. The building switched over to a backup generator for about 45 minutes and committee and floor sessions were put on hold.
VERMONT OPENS EMERGENCY OPS CENTER
The state of Vermont has partially activated the Vermont Emergency Operations Center to help towns and utilities. Officials say the restoration of power could take more than one day, particularly in the southern half of the state. If you need a warm place to go, they ask you to call 211.
There will be a shelter Wednesday morning in southeastern Vermont. The Red Cross is inviting people to Brattleboro Union High School starting at 9 a.m. Pets are welcome. If you head to the shelter, officials are asking you to bring your medications, bedding, chargers, books, and games.
ESSEX COUNTY DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY
Essex County, New York, is declaring a local state of emergency. That means residents should only travel if they “must.” Officials are asking residents to be prepared for the emergency declaration to last a while.
SNOWSTORM SNARLS TRAVEL
Hundreds of flights were canceled across the Northeast Tuesday, including about a dozen out of the Burlington International Airport.
Amtrak Tweeted that its northbound Vermonter service Tuesday will not travel past New Haven, Connecticut. And Wednesday’s train will originate in New Haven.
Due to forecasted weather conditions, Vermonter Train 55 scheduled for service on 3/15 will originate in New Haven (NHV). For traveling assistance, please call or text 1-800-USA-RAIL.— Amtrak Northeast (@AmtrakNECAlerts) March 14, 2023
VTrans is also trying to keep up with the rapidly accumulating snow and downed trees. Commuters dealt with messy conditions Tuesday morning, including road closures on Routes 7a and 313 in Arlington and Route 9 in Wilmington. New Hampshire State Police say they also responded to dozens of crashes Tuesday.
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