Wednesday, February 2, 2011

After several near misses, Vermont to see 8-20 inches

Department of Motor Vehicles  Lt. Patrick McManamon oversees a vehicle that spun into the guardrail on Interstate 189 in South Burlington on Tuesday afternoon as the first wave of a snowstorm settled into northern Vermont coating roadways with slick layer of snow.
Chances are anything you planned on doing today is canceled due to the expected foot or so of snow expected to fall on Vermont today.
Schools made decisions to close Tuesday instead of waiting until this morning to decide. Some businesses are planning to close or have reduced hours. Meetings and activities are going by the wayside, too. And state transportation officials are advising drivers to stay off the roads.
Even as the bulk of the storm tormented the Midwest on Tuesday, two drivers were killed in weather-related car crashes in Vermont, one in Colchester, the other in Mendon.
The expected 8 to 20 inches of snow is on the heavy side, but not unheard of in a Vermont winter. The difficulty with today’s forecasted storm is the timing.
The worst of the storm is expected to come between dawn and evening today, according to the National Weather Service office in South Burlington. During the day, snow is forecast to fall at a rate of 1 to 2 inches an hour, enough to reduce visibility and the ability of plowing crews to keep roads clear.


Today’s expected deep snow accumulation, on top of a parade of other snowfalls that have struck Vermont during the past month, are raising a variety of public-safety worries. Among them:
• The Vermont Transportation Agency warned motorists to stay off the state’s roads Wednesday unless travel is absolutely necessary. Plows will work the roads all day, but highways will remain snow-covered and slippery during the entire storm, agency officials said.
• The Vermont Agriculture Agency warned farmers and property owners to shovel deep snow off the roofs of barns. People who remove snow from roofs should have at least two people working simultaneously to unload the snow evenly. Those shoveling roofs should plan an escape route if a collapse begins while they are on the roof, the agency cautioned.
A roof might stay intact immediately after a storm, but give way days or weeks after a snowfall, so people should remove snow from roofs as soon as possible.

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