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March 01. 2012 11:44PM

Not 'a classic New England snowstorm'


Amelia LaPlante and her brother Anthony, shovel snow as the family dog, Tessa, plays in the snow as the two help clear the driveway at their Litchfield home Thursday afternoon. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)

A slow-moving, two-day storm brought snow to all but the northern tip of the state.

“This wasn't a classic New England snowstorm,” said meteorologist Mark Paquette of Accuweather Inc., a national forecasting firm. Snow accumulations were highest in the southern areas of the state, while northern regions received less, he said.

“The rain-snow line is almost tipped backward,” said Paquette, who noted a weather system over Quebec helped steer the colder air to the south.

A survey of local communities revealed the Massachusetts border town of Atkinson received 10 inches of snow through the day Thursday, but Pittsburg, the state's northernmost town, received only a bit more than a dusting.

Police were kept busy handling spin-outs and collisions.

“We saw quite a few cars going off the road, some accidents with vehicle damage, but no pileups or serious injury accidents,” State Police Maj. Russell Conway said. “We're seeing people slide off the road because they're going too fast for conditions.”

In Madison, a state snow plow hit a utility pole on Route 113, bringing live electrical wires down on the truck, according to Bill Boynton of the state Department of Transportation. “He had to stay in the truck while a crew was called in to turn off the power.”

Scattered power outages were reported across the state.

“The larger issues were the result of the poor driving conditions,” PSNH spokesman Mark Skeleton said. The most extensive outages,in Londonderry and at South Willow Street in Manchester, were caused by cars hitting utility poles, he said.

Residents were spared extensive outages because snow accumulations were gradual, and tree limbs are stronger at this time of year, utility officials said.

“Trees go into a dormant season where they're not growing and there are no fluids running though them,” said Bob Allen, the director of vegetative management for PSNH. “The tree is actually hardened.”

Manchester-Boston Regional Airport's Tom Malafronte said there were few delays and only two flights were canceled.

Manchester parking garages opened Wednesday night to motorists faced with a snow-emergency parking ban.

“We didn't tow any cars; we didn't have any issues,” Manchester police Sgt. Todd Boucher said. “Things went very smoothly.”

While the snow took a while to fall, it won't remain on the ground all that long. Meteorologist Paquette expects a rainstorm to move in by tonight that will be long enough, warm enough and wet enough to wash most of the snow away.


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