MANCHESTER — Police responded to hundreds of crashes on New Hampshire roads after the first wave of a winter storm dumped more than a foot of snow on parts of the state, with more still to come.
New Hampshire activated its Emergency Operations Center on Monday morning after the first major storm of the season hit hard, closing schools throughout much of the state. By early afternoon, State Police had received reports of more than 205 accidents since Sunday afternoon.
“Take it slow. Clean off your car before you travel and give yourself plenty of time,” was the advice of Judy Emmert of New Hampshire Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
One crash shut down two lanes of northbound Interstate 93 just south of Manchester for about three hours Monday afternoon. State Police said a northbound freight truck was cut off by another vehicle, causing the truck driver to slide into a guardrail, roll over and continue down an embankment before landing on its roof.
Southern New Hampshire saw the highest snow amounts, with 14 inches falling on Greenville by Monday morning, 13 inches in Rindge and a foot in Exeter. Manchester received 9 inches.
The line of heavy snow tapered off north and west of Concord, with the capital city receiving 5 inches by Monday morning, enough for leaders in the state House and Senate to postpone all committee and commission meetings.
William Watson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, said the second round of snow is on track to blanket the Seacoast area with 8 to 12 additional inches by Tuesday morning.
Southern areas of New Hampshire, including interior Rockingham County, Hillsborough, southern Merrimack and eastern Cheshire and Sullivan counties, were looking at an additional 6 to 8 inches by Tuesday morning, Watson said.
Concord and central areas could get 4 to 6 more inches and the White Mountains and northern areas, which had the lowest snow totals, could also get a fresh few inches, Watson said. The bulk of the snowfall should be done by early Tuesday but scattered snow showers could continue through noon, Watson said.
“It’s still likely to affect the commute in some fashion,” Watson said. “It will probably still be going in the morning, but the heaviest is expected overnight.”
Highway speed limits were reduced to 45 mph Monday morning. The reduced speeds were lifted in the afternoon, but Emmert cautioned that the 45 mph limit could be reinstated, depending on the conditions.
Granite Staters had plenty of digging out to do Monday after the opening round of heavy, wet snow.
“I’ll be at this all day,” Brenda Palmer said as she shoveled her daughter’s driveway on Route 101 in Keene Monday afternoon.
Palmer said she wanted to make sure her grandchildren could safely get down on Tuesday for the school bus, assuming the district doesn’t call another snow day.
With more snow on the way Monday night, Manchester, Nashua and Pembroke had already declared a second straight night of snow emergency, banning vehicles from parking on the street from 10 p.m. Monday until 6 a.m. Tuesday.