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Wicked spring weather wallops N.H.

Union Leader Correspondent

April 16. 2018 9:05PM

State police said high winds and caused three tractor-trailers to blow over on Interstate 93 in Franconia Notch Monday afternoon. One blew into a state police cruiser. (N.H. Department of Transportation)

Wild spring weather brought record cold, icy conditions and fierce winds that forced the closure of Interstate 93 through Franconia Notch on Monday afternoon.

State police Capt. Chris Vetter said three tractor-trailers were blown over on I-93, including one that tipped over onto a cruiser in the breakdown lane. The trooper and truck driver were not injured, though the cruiser was damaged, Vetter said.

“This just goes to show you the dangers that law enforcement deal with on a daily basis, even from Mother Nature,” Vetter said.

(See how Boston Marathon runners fared in the storm; Page D1.)

The National Weather Service had warned of wind gusts up to 50 mph in parts of the state. The winds brought down trees and power lines, knocking out electricity to thousands of customers, especially in the Monadnock Region. Ice-caked vehicles also created highway hazards typically seen during the winter months. State police Lt. John Hennessey of Troop A in Epping said there were at least six vehicles struck by flying ice Monday morning. No injuries were reported, he said.

The wintry weather kept state and local road crews busy with salting — beginning Saturday night and lasting into Monday.

“It’s just been a mixed bag and we’ve had to keep a constant eye on it,” said Bill Boynton, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.

Boynton said the state had to call some private contractors to help out. They included landscapers who had to put their plows on again.

Hampstead Road Agent Jon Worthen said he was short on drivers and equipment, but crews managed to get the job done.

“I’ve had enough. I wish it would just be over with and get on with spring. We need to get ready for paving,” he said.

The weather forced some schools to call a two-hour delay Monday morning.

Warmer temperatures are on the way for Tuesday and beyond.

“It’ll be more spring-like than today, which doesn’t take much. There is warmer air trying to work in. It just takes a while to scour out the cold air,” said Andy Pohl, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.

Temperatures today are expected to rise into the lower 50s near the coast with upper 40s inland, and about 40 in the mountains.

High temperature will gradually warm into the 50s through the week, but, Pohl said, “I wouldn’t say we’re breaking the pattern.”

The warm-up comes after Concord saw record cold on Sunday. According to Pohl, the high temperature was just 32 degrees, which set a record for the latest that a high temperature has been at or below freezing during the spring season. The normal high for Sunday was 57.

The chilly spring hasn’t been ideal for outdoor sports and fans, but members of the Fisher Cats baseball team are making the best of it.

“It’s kind of par for the course right now with the time of year it is and where we are geographically,” team manager John Schneider said.

But the players are ready for warmer weather, as are students at Lamprey River Elementary School in Raymond. Principal Bryan Belanger said the spring weather so far has been extremely challenging for students and staff.

“We are all looking forward to getting back on the playground, using our nature trail and beginning our spring outdoor lessons,” he said.

Public Safety Weather Franconia

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