Nor'easter rolls up East Coast, blanketing NHBy MARK HAYWARD
New Hampshire Union Leader
March 14. 2017 8:50AM
The winter of 2016-17 is leaving no doubt of its staying power as a Nor’easter hits today, with expected snowfalls of up to 18 inches in most of the state, and higher totals in the mountains.
The Weather Service also put the coastal counties of New Hampshire as well as the cities of Manchester and Nashua under a blizzard warning, meaning sustained winds or frequent gusts of 35 mph.
At 8:30 a.m., power companies already were reporting some outages. Eversource was reporting 1,314 customers without electricity, while Unitil was reporting about 400 customers in the dark in the Stratham area. The N.H. Electric Coop reported 150 customers without power in Meredith.
Manchester declared a snow emergency for Tuesday night, banning parking on city streets between 10 p.m. Tuesday and 6 a.m. Wednesday.
All meetings in the New Hampshire House in Concord were cancelled.
During the height of the storm, snow could fall as heavily as 1 to 3 inches an hour. Visibility could be a quarter-mile or less. “It will be pretty uncomfortable,” said Stacie Hanes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Some school districts announced Monday they would be closed today, including Manchester, Nashua, Derry, Rochester, Allenstown, Candia, Amherst and Auburn.
At Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, three airlines had canceled their final flights into Manchester on Monday and most departures and arrivals were cancelled for Tuesday.
“The airlines are starting to look where their airplanes and crews are going to be or need to be,” said spokesman Tom Malafronte.
At 8:30 a.m., only three Delta arrivals were still listed to land, while a pair of Delta flights to Detroit remained on the board to take off. Travelers are advised to check with their airlines.
In Nashua, officials declared a snow emergency until 6 a.m. Wednesday, meaning no cars can park on city streets or city-owned surface lots.
Manchester had not declared a snow emergency Monday, but it likely will at some point for this evening, said Public Works Director Kevin Sheppard.
This will be the third storm of the season with a double-digit snowfall total, he said. On Monday, the city had burned through $1.2 million of its snow removal budget.
Any plow operator who works more than eight hours gets overtime, which can quickly add up.
“We’ll see after the storm,” Sheppard said about the budget. “It could (get used up). It has the potential.”
Another Manchester official had a more optimistic forecast.
On Monday, Lake Massabesic was only 2 inches below the spillway of the dam, after being 50½ inches down during the height of the drought last summer.
“This storm, it should be spilling (over the dam)”, said Water Works Director Philip Croasdale, who resisted calls for water restrictions last year. That’s the highest the water level has been since June 2016.
The state’s largest utility, Eversource, warned of potential power outages caused by downed trees or tree limbs.
“We design and build our system to stand up to the effects of storms like this and our staff will be ready to address any damage the snow and winds might cause,” said Joe Purington, vice president of New Hampshire electric operations at Eversource. “We’re confident our ongoing system improvements and tree maintenance program, combined with our strategic emergency response plan, will enable us to safely and efficiently handle any issues that may arise.”