Northern Vermont hit early; worst is yet to come in south
By Christian Avard
Staff Writer | February 09,2013
Vyto Starinskas / Staff Photo
Nate Marcell said he enjoys shoveling fresh snowfall at Killington Shops At The Shack where he works. He was out there Friday afternoon during the snowstorm that hit the Northeast. More Rutland area storm photos are found on Page B1.
Vermont was relatively calm Friday morning. But all of that changed in a matter of hours when a weather system from the west collided with a weather system from the south and created a scenario for a perfect snowstorm.
National Weather Service meteorologist John Goff said some areas in northern Vermont, such as Milton, were hit with up to 8.5 inches of snow Friday morning. Other northern Vermont towns with significant snowfall include Johnson, 10 inches; Waterbury, 10 inches; North Fairfax, 8 inches; Burlington, 8 inches and St. Albans 7.5 inches.
The snowstorm that walloped the mid-Atlantic states early Friday morning arrived in southern New England by nightfall. Official snowfall amounts have not been determined but meteorologists say it is already the biggest snowstorm of the year so far.
“When a coastal system takes over, it will intensify rapidly, zap the energy from the inland system and get absorbed into the larger coastal system. It’s not an unusual thing,” Goff said.
Mark Bosma of Vermont Emergency Management said Friday afternoon there was no state of emergency in Vermont, despite an erroneous early report, but said there were a number of accidents in the state, including a four-car crash on Interstate 89 in Bolton.
Rutland City was relatively quiet Friday, according to Mayor Christopher Louras. An eighth of an inch had fallen in the city early Friday afternoon, but Louras expected more than 10 inches by late Saturday.
The mayor’s number one priority, he said, was keeping the road crew rested for a long night ahead. “What we don’t want to do is burn everyone out early and then not have anyone rested to do clean up once the snow stops,” Louras said.
Southern Vermont roads and highways were relatively quiet on Friday, according to Agency of Transportation officials. Tammy Ellis, District 2 manager for AOT, said the storm had not made its way to southern Vermont as of noon, so her road crew got to work and sanded Interstate 91.
“It’s predicted to pick up,” she said. “It’s possible we could see as much as 5 inches an hour. I doubt we would see that, but it is possible.”
Route 9, which travels across southern Vermont, was also quiet Friday afternoon, according to District 1 Manager William Leach. He said half an inch of snow had fallen in Bennington and no accidents were reported on Route 9.
Leach anticipated that problems might occur as the weather picks up. Route 9 is well-traveled on winter weekends and some travelers are not prepared for the icy roads and elevation changes, he said.
“They come up Route 9 in Mercedes Benzes and whatever with nice summer tires and accidents happen every year,” Leach said. “If they would drive at decent speeds for the road conditions, they would have no problems.”
Ellis agreed, saying that drivers must travel carefully, especially if they are headed to Vermont ski areas.
“Lots of times people are driving speed limit and their perception is that they’re not speeding because they’re going the limit. But speed limits are for ideal road conditions. Snow covered roads are not ideal,” she said.