NH, Vt., Maine not hit as hard as predicted _ yetBy LYNNE TUOHY , Associated Press
Feb. 27, 2013 4:11 PM ET
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Much of northern New England, facing its first major midweek storm forecast of the year, wound up Wednesday afternoon with the storm that wasn't.
"It seems to be petering out, and we're all in favor of that," New Hampshire Emergency Management spokesman Jim Van Dongen said. "It seems to be heading in the right direction, which is away."
But meteorologists at the National Weather Service headquarters in Gray, Maine, said it wasn't over yet. Storm warnings remained in effect for central New Hampshire, southeastern Vermont and inland Maine.
The storm packed snow onto the mountains of Vermont and a mixture of snow and rain in the lower elevations.
By noon Wednesday, the mountain town of Woodford, Vt., in the southern part of the state, already had reported 11.8 inches, the National Weather Service said.
"The mountains and ski areas are doing pretty good," said Andy Nash, a National Weather Service forecaster in Burlington, Vt. "They're going to get the jackpot with this storm."
Mount Snow had reported 7 to 9 inches of new snow and more was on the way as the storm was expected to continue overnight and into Thursday, with the southern Green Mountains forecast to get more than a foot. Other mountain areas could get 8 to 10 inches.
Lower elevations could see several inches by morning, as rain turns to snow, Nash said.
New Hampshire Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Boynton said it was "very, very quiet" in terms of road conditions and accidents, with the exception of a mid-afternoon accident that shut down Route 125 in Milton.
"We've got rain throughout a good chunk of the state and black and wet pavement," Boynton said. "We've had a very few incidents, a couple of vehicles in snow banks."
Van Dongen said no power outages had been reported by late Wednesday afternoon.
It's Cory Patten's job to get some of those vehicles out of snow banks and other predicaments.
Wednesday morning found him looking at a food delivery truck well off the driveway of the Woodlawn nursing home in Newport, supervising as one of his tow trucks from Patten's Auto and Truck Works winched the truck back onto the driveway. In that short span of time, his cellphone was exploding and his next calls would be to rescue oil delivery trucks in similar predicaments in Woodstock, Vt., and Sunapee.
"This stuff here is nasty," Patten said of the wet snow. "Once you drive over it, it's packed."
Ski areas reaped the benefit of elevation and were picking up some substantial accumulations of snow, according to Tony Vazzano, of North Winds Weather, which tailors forecasts for many of the major ski areas in northern New England.
"This is a good day for the mountains, no question about it," Vazzano said.
Vazzano said Stratton and Killington ski areas in Vermont had 7 inches of new snow by Wednesday afternoon. Maine, he said, might not see as much but most of the areas were expected to get at least 6 inches.
National Weather Service meteorologist James Brown said that atop Mount Washington at 2 p.m. it was 14 degrees — cold air the storm system would have to bring down to make the snow accumulations to match the forecast. Brown said he still expected much of northern New England to wake up Thursday to accumulations of 6 to 12 inches.
Associated Press writer Lisa Rathke in Montpelier, Vt., contributed to this report.