Winter storm should 'graze' Vermont
By Josh O'Gorman
Staff writer | February 08,2013
Vyto Starinskas / Staff Photo
Aaron Farrar picks up a stack of shovels at Aubuchon Hardware in Ludlow and puts them on his plow truck and sander Thursday, just in time for the upcoming storm.
Vermonters and visitors to the state will be treated to a wintry weekend but should be spared the full and mighty wrath of winter storm Nemo.
The first major storm of 2013 is expected to pummel parts of Massachusetts — and southern regions of New Hampshire and Maine — with more than 2 feet of snow, but snowfall totals for most of Vermont are expected to fall far shy of that mark.
“We're going to be more of a spectator on this one,” said Roger Hill, meteorologist for Weathering Heights Consulting in Worcester. “It looks like a historic nor'easter that will just graze Vermont.”
Forecasters are calling for 7 to 10 inches of snow to fall across the state, beginning this morning and continuing until Saturday afternoon. However, residents and travelers through the higher elevations of Windham County can expect as much has 20 inches before it's all over, Hill said.
While 20 inches is the highest amount predicted for the state, southern New England is expected to be slapped harder. The National Weather Service on Thursday issued blizzard and coastal flooding warnings for the Boston area, which is expected to experience storm surges during high tide this evening and Saturday morning, with winds of 30 to 40 mph and gusts up to 65 mph.
Preparations — for both fun and disaster — were in full swing Thursday.
Mark Bosma, public information officer for the state's Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, urged the public to have plenty of water, food and batteries on hand in the event they lose power.
“But the biggest threat, above and beyond all else, is heart attacks while shoveling snow,” Bosma said. “People should take it easy when they're shoveling. Also, be sure to clear any low-lying vents to prevent carbon monoxide buildup in your house.”
Low temperatures — as low as 12 degrees tonight and Saturday nights and a high of 19 during the day Saturday — will result in a dry snowfall that Green Mountain Power spokesman Jeremy Baker said he hoped would not bring down power lines.
“Snowfall amounts could be significant, but the cold temperatures should keep the snow light and fluffy, creating minimal issues from an outage perspective,” Baker said.
The state Agency of Transportation has prepared 250 trucks to plow the roads and keep them navigable with plenty of salt and sand, said Scott Rogers, AOT's director of operations.
“We expect this to be pretty dry, fluffy snow, which is great, but it's still a snowstorm,” he said.
A few people were thinking ahead Thursday when they began to prepare for the storm.
“I find human nature waits until the last minute,” said Tom Bissonnette, manager of Aubuchon Hardware in Ludlow, which had a sidewalk display of snow shovels, sleds and firewood. “We've sold a few shovels today, but I expect we'll sell a lot more tomorrow, especially if we get an influx of southerners.”
Out-of-state skiers are already changing their travel plans to take advantage of the storm, said Sarah Thorson, spokeswoman for Killington Resort.
“We've been noticing that people who have reservations this weekend have called to extend their reservations so they can come early,” she said.
Burr Morse, owner of Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks and Ski Touring Center in East Montpelier, looked forward to the storm as he walked through his sugarbush Thursday afternoon.
“This past week, we've only been open part time,” Morse said of his trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. “So this is sweet news.”