Heavy snow has swept through the southern part of Vermont and is heading north, causing power outages, road closures, dangerous driving conditions and collisions.
According to the National Weather Service, the storm is expected to continue north until Wednesday evening at 8 p.m., depositing over a foot of snow in some southern towns and up to 11 inches in northern counties.
After initially issuing a storm warning for southern Vermont and a less serious storm advisory for central towns, the weather service upgraded its alerts on Tuesday to a warning for the entire state through Wednesday morning, said Gabriel Langbauer, a meteorologist with the weather service’s Burlington office.
While the snow may tempt some Vermonters toward the ski slopes, the National Weather Service warned drivers to take extra caution until roads are fully cleared, citing slushy road conditions that have already led to collisions.
“This heavy, wet snow can turn to ice and we’re right at freezing (temperatures),” Langbauer said. “So if that pavement gets to that freezing mark, it can really cause hazardous conditions for drivers as it creates thick ice.”
A school bus was among the vehicles involved in car crashes on snowy roads across the state Tuesday morning, according to Vermont State Police. Nobody was injured when the driver of a Toyota Camry lost control of the car and side-swiped a bus between Cochran Road and Cochran Way in Richmond, police said.
Power outages were widespread in southern Vermont “due to the wet heavy snow that we're having, in addition to winds that can blow under the trees and drop branches onto the powerlines,” Langbauer said.
According to the Brattleboro Fire Department, nearly a quarter of town residents were without power Tuesday morning.
“Currently, we have over 30 roads that are partially blocked or closed and expect more downed trees as the winds intensify,” the Brattleboro Fire Department wrote in a press release.
Nearly 30,000 Green Mountain Power customers were without power as of 4 p.m., according to the utility’s outage center. The most severe outages were reported in the southeastern part of the state, including 2,158 customers without power in Brattleboro. Clusters of outages were also reported in the southwestern corner, the Upper Valley and the Montpelier and Burlington areas.
In a press release, utility officials said crews had already restored power to more than 21,000 customers since the storm’s start and are continuing to repair ongoing outages.
“As the wet heavy snow continues to come down across the state through tomorrow, we know already this will be a multi-day restoration,” Mike Burke, the utility’s vice president of field operations, said in the release.
Burke noted that “storms like these produce snow that is full of water causing it to stick to trees and powerlines like cement. Over time this weight can cause new outages, even as we are making progress on restorations.”
Green Mountain Power says it encourages customers to take safety precautions and report outages to the company via the website, app or by calling 888-835-4672.
As the town of Brattleboro works to respond to the storm, the fire department advised residents to stay off the roads and check in on their neighbors. In an announcement posted on its website, the department noted that the Red Cross would open a regional shelter at Brattleboro Union High School where residents can seek shelter as the storm continues. The department said it will continue to release information regarding the shelter’s opening as it becomes available.
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