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March 12. 2014 3:35PM

Central part of state biggest area of concern in storm

MEREDITH – Though the nor'easter upon us will drop the most snow – as much as 1 to 2 feet — over the northern part of the state, the biggest area of concern for the state's electric utilities is Central New Hampshire, where power outages are beginning to occur.

The National Weather Service reported that through early tomorrow, towns from Concord north to the lower White Mountains will see a change from snow to rain and ice. The area is forecast to have at least a foot of snow, according to meteorologist Mike Cempa.

"I think the real concern in Central New Hampshire is that in that area, most of the snow will be heavy, wet snow, and the wind will be 15 to 20 miles per hour, with gusts up to 20 miles per hour," Cempa said.

Late Wednesday afternoon, power outages began to occur. The New Hampshire Electric Cooperative reported outages in Alton, Gilford, Canaan and Hanover as of 3 p.m., according to co-op spokesman Seth Wheeler.

"Our concerns in the central part of the state are the quantity of wet snow, the icing, and wind gusts, which are expected to reach 40 miles per hour tomorrow morning when the storm is getting out of here," Wheeler said.

Public Service Company of New Hampshire's Martin Murray said the utility has 400 line workers available and numerous assets available from its parent and partner companies to the south in case of widespread outages.

Though Cempa said the northern part of the state could get up to two feet of snow from this storm, Murray said PSNH is most closely watching Central New Hampshire for outage problems. Central parts of the state are expected to get at least 10 inches of snow, while the Seacoast is expected to get 2 to 4 inches.

"We are prepared statewide, but the potential for outages is particularly high from Concord north to (Franconia) Notch," Murray said.


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