Another harsh winter punch delivered
Another powerful nor'easter dumped more than a foot of snow on some parts of southern New Hampshire and created traffic headaches and massive waves that pummeled coastal areas during high tide Friday morning.
The slow-moving storm closed many schools in southern New Hampshire and made for a treacherous morning commute.
The bulk of the snow fell in southern areas where snow totals climbed to 11 inches in Derry, Londonderry, and Nashua, just over a foot in Hampstead, and 13 inches in Hudson and Pelham.
The amounts were higher in some areas than forecasters had expected, but they said it was a tricky storm to predict.
"It went up dramatically almost for every mile south you go. It was one of those very sharp delineating lines. To get it exact was a difficult thing to do," said Bob Marine, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.
The storm made a mess on the coast as well. The system passed south of New England but strong winds over the past two days generated waves of 20 to 25 feet, Marine said. Large waves crashed over seawalls along Route 1A in Hampton, North Hampton and Rye, sending water, rocks and other debris into the street. Concrete park benches were even lifted up and pushed into the middle of Route 1A in Hampton.
During the morning commute, New Hampshire State Police from Troop B in Bedford said troopers responded to more than 90 motor vehicle incidents involving accidents, vehicles off the road and disabled motorists. Most of the problems were reported on the Everett Turnpike and interstates 293 and 93.
At one point, state police said Trooper 1st Class Thomas Forsley had his cruiser sideswiped by a passing motorist while he was handling an incident on Route 101 in Milford. The driver was identified as Melinda Simoneau of Nashua.
Forsley suffered minor injuries and was treated and released from Southern New Hampshire Medical Center in Nashua.
According to state police, a trailer on a tractor-trailer went off the I-293 northbound Exit 6 ramp in Manchester, causing the ramp to be shut down for about two hours.
In unrelated incident, a jack-knifed tractor-trailer on the Everett Turnpike in Nashua shut down two lanes of travel for several hours, while another tractor-trailer unit became stuck on the Exit 2 on-ramp on I-93 northbound in Salem, forcing the ramp to be closed for about 20 minutes.
While the storm forced plow drivers back onto the roads and many residents to haul out their shovels and snow blowers, John Hauschildt of Exeter took it in stride. He grabbed his skis and skied through downtown Exeter and made a stop at Me & Ollie's Café.
"I stayed mostly on the street because the sidewalks were too piled up with snow," he said after removing his skis and leaning them against the side of the cafe.
For those looking for a break from the cold and snow, Marine said temperatures this weekend are expected to rise into the mid-40s to near 50. Rain could be in the forecast next week with a southerly flow, but Marine warned not to be fooled by warmer spring-like weather.
"It's too soon to call it quits yet. There's a lot of time left in March," he said.