A mid-week snowstorm triggered more than 130 crashes on state roads, including one that proved fatal and another involving a state plow truck.
Michael Todd, public information officer for the state Department of Safety, said Wednesday night that there were 135 crashes reported statewide between 2:30 p.m. Tuesday and 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Manchester police reported 16 crashes between 3 p.m. and 10 a.m.
Even plows weren’t immune to highway mishaps.
A Department of Transportation plow truck struck an unoccupied tollbooth in the E-ZPass lane on the Spaulding Turnpike in Dover around 5:25 a.m.
Driver Kenneth Boston, 48, of Rochester “was actively involved in snow and ice removal operations” when the truck’s front plow struck the tollbooth, which became dislodged from its base, State Police said. The two left northbound E-Z Pass lanes were closed for a short time. No one was injured.
Meanwhile, people around the state were clearing wet, heavy snow by shovel and snowblower.
Gary Card, who does maintenance work at Cappa’s Kennel in Kingston, broke his shovel while trying to scrape underneath the snow.
“This is back-breaking right now. It’s tough,” said Card, 55.
While the storms that have hit this winter have turned to a mix bag that has made cleanup more challenging, Card said this winter has been easier than last year, when he spent about 60 hours with a pick trying to smash through ice.
“I’ll take snow rather than chopping ice,” he said.
Violations and an alert
One state trooper stopped 21 vehicles in four hours and gave out 17 tickets for violating Jessica’s Law, which requires drivers to remove snow and ice from their vehicles before hitting the road.
“All operators were required to clear their vehicles of snow & ice before continuing on,” State Police said in a tweet.
More than 31,000 people who signed up for emergency alerts received phone calls in the middle of the night about lane closures on the F.E. Everett Turnpike.
“As part of the normal notification process, the information was appropriately sent to subscribers in the area of the alert using the NH Alerts and Code Red mobile apps,” Todd said.
“However, the notifications were also inadvertently sent as a phone call, email and text to subscribers in the area of the alert,” he said. “The cause of the issue has been identified and corrections have been made. The New Hampshire State Police apologizes for the inconvenience this caused.”
The storm dropped less than six inches in most of the southern New Hampshire, with more further north.
Jackson received 9.5 inches of snow, edging out Pinkham Notch with 9.2 inches, according to the National Weather Service. Other totals included 8 inches in Wakefield, 6.6 inches in Plymouth, 5.2 in Stratham and 5 in Bedford.
So far, so good
As of last week, the state had spent $37.4 million of its $57.3 million winter maintenance budget, according to DOT spokesman Bill Boynton.
That’s about 65 percent of the budget for 56 percent of the winter maintenance calendar.
“In terms of expenditures, it’s tracking similar to the past few winters, but maybe a little ahead,” Boynton said.
Areas north of Concord have had repeated bouts of winter weather while southern areas have dealt with rounds of mixed precipitation.
“We’ve had a lot of those cold, melting, refreezing, mixed-precipitation situations just requiring crews endlessly chasing freezing conditions,” Boynton said.
Forecasters were predicting sun and a high of 33 degrees in Manchester todayon Thursday with rain and snow possible, and 42 degrees on Friday. North Conway was predicted to hit 36 with sunshine Thursday but turning stormy Friday with snow and sleet and a high of 38.
On Wednesday morning, it took Daniel Miltz about 15 minutes to clear the heavy, wet snow from his Hampstead driveway with his snowblower.
Unlike others who grumble when powdery snow turns to a slushy mess, the 72-year-old Miltz doesn’t seem to mind. He’s from Detroit, moved to Hampstead about four years ago, and has always embraced winter.
“I love the snow. The thing I don’t like is summer. I don’t like the heat. I like the snow and I like to walk around in the snow,” he said as he finished up the driveway in his home in the Emerson Village retirement community.
Miltz said the wetter snow hasn’t been a big problem for his snowblower.
When it comes to snow, he said, “The more the better.”