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Not-for-Profit, Award-Winning Community News and Views for Windham County, Vermont • Since 2006
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No problems in Windham County after big snowstorm

Vermont spared worst of epic Nor’easter

BRATTLEBORO—Windham County residents woke up last Saturday morning to the sight of 12 to 18 inches of snow covering the landscape.

Snowfall amounts reported to the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., included 11.5 inches at Ball Mountain Dam in Townshend, 12.5 inches in East Dummerston, 13.5 inches in Guilford, and 17.3 inches in Marlboro.

But what was just a good-sized winter storm for Southern Vermont was a major emergency for Southern New England.

The nor’easter, a collision of two weather systems off the the coast of New England last Friday, brought hurricane force winds and nearly three feet of snow to parts of Eastern Massachusetts.

By the time the storm finally moved out to sea Saturday afternoon, the only effects in Windham County were gusty winds and frigid temperatures.

The situation was more dire in Massachusetts, where Gov. Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency on Friday. All roads, including Interstate 91, were closed to non-essential traffic at 4 p.m. Roads reopened at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

At least 15 deaths were blamed on the storm, although no fatalities were reported in Vermont. More than 650,000 people lost power at the height of the storm in the Northeast.

Green Mountain Power reported no power outages in Windham County during the storm.

Snowfall amounts reported to National Weather Service offices around New England on Saturday showed the magnitude of the storm.

Boston took 24.9 inches of snow, the fifth-biggest storm on record there.

In Central Massachusetts, Worcester reported 28 inches. In Western Massachusetts, Greenfield reported 20 inches, Northampton reported 24 inches, and Southwick dug out from 28.3 inches.

Hartford, Conn., reported 27 inches of snow.

In Southeast New Hampshire, Keene and East Alstead reported about 14 inches, with West Chesterfield and Walpole reporting 12.5 and 9.5 inches, respectively.

Portland, Maine, reported 31.9 inches, a new record there, while Concord, N.H., got 24 inches, the second-biggest amount ever for that city.

The top snowfall amount in all of New England was reported in Hamden, Conn., just outside New Haven: 40 inches of snow.

Schools all over Windham County canceled classes Friday ahead of the storm, and Amtrak suspended its Vermonter service between Springfield, Mass., and St. Albans for the weekend.

The U.S. Postal Service canceled mail delivery in New England on Saturday.

Emergency officials in Vermont did not report any problems from this storm, and Vermont was the only New England state not to declare a state of emergency.

Main roads in the Brattleboro area were cleared by Saturday morning, but downtown Brattleboro was almost empty of foot and vehicle traffic at noontime.

“Everything went well, there were not a lot of breakdowns,” said Brattleboro Public Works Director Steve Barrett. “The snow was pretty fluffy, so that puts a lot less strain on our equipment.”

This was the first big snowstorm to hit Brattleboro in two years. Barrett said he was grateful that residents obeyed the snow emergency parking ban that prohibited on-street parking on Friday and Saturday.

“We could keep the main roads clear,” said Barrett.

His department’s next challenge is removing the mountains of snow in the town parking lots, clearing all the sidewalks, and knocking down the snowbanks that are blocking visibility at intersections, he said.

Unfortunately, the fluffy snow that made life easy for highway crews around the county turned a slushy mess on Monday, as a mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain fell throughout the day.

Just the same, the snow from Friday’s storm should stick around for next week’s Brattleboro Winter Carnival, and the National Weather Service predicts relatively tranquil weather for Presidents’ Day weekend.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #190 (Wednesday, February 13, 2013).

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