The state Department of Transportation is advising commuters along major highways and interstates in southern New Hampshire to travel no faster than 45 miles an hour. But DOT spokesman Bill Boynton says in many cases, travelers may need to go even more slowly. He says crews from Concord to the Massachusetts border are working in "the heart of the storm," and dealing with snow falling at about one to two inches an hour. "And that's going to limit visibility. It's also going to mean snow covered roads. So we just cannot, at this intensity, keep the roads bare until it starts to taper off," Boynton says. "So people need to expect that and drive accordingly." If possible, the DOT advises residents to stay off the roads. Governor Maggie Hassan has authorized state agencies to give workers leave if they can't get to work safely. Boynton says this winter is proving to be difficult for road maintenance. The DOT is running low on salt, with 99,000 tons remaining. The agency has already used 118,000 tons to treat the roads. Boynton says the state is ordering more salt to keep in reserve, but with harsh winters across the East Coast and Midwest, there's a lot of competing demand. The Concord Monitor reports that with only half the season over, the DOT has already used 65-percent of its winter budget.
A winter storm warning is in effect statewide. Meteorologist Rob Carolan of Hometown Forecast Services in Nashua says the area south of the Lakes Region will see the heaviest accumulations, ranging from seven to twelve inches. And he says southern New Hampshire will bear the brunt of the storm. "We could see snowfall rates across the southern third of the state approach one, one and a half inches an hour through the midmorning hours as this storm system develops," he says. "The snow, though, from the Lakes Region northward is going to be lighter.