N.H.'s First Winter Storm of Season Brings Sleet, Messy Roads

Dec 29, 2015

Check this story throughout the day for storm weather updates.  Visit the National Weather Service forecast map to see detailed conditions in your area. 

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10:07 AM

State transportation officials say it’s been all hands on deck for New Hampshire’s first winter storm of the season.

Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Boynton says the state’s more than 700 plows have been out since early this morning.

“The conditions are varying across the state. There’s still snowfall in the northern part of the state and the mixed conditions have sort of spread earlier than anticipated up through Concord and into the Lakes Region,” he said. “That can make it problematic both for treating the roads and for motorists. Sometimes it can be a little deceptive because it looks like black pavement but when you’re getting freezing rain conditions, it’s still quite slippery.”

Boynton says there have only been a handful of minor accidents, including an incident early this morning when a state plow struck a toll booth in Rochester, forcing the booth to close temporarily.

He says drivers should continue to use caution through the mid-day and adhere to a 45 mile per hour speed limit on all state highways.

9:45 AM via the Associated Press:

A combination of snow, sleet and freezing rain is falling over New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.

Some crashes were reported as commuters dealt with hazardous conditions Tuesday morning, but there's no immediate word of injuries.

Highway speed limits are down to 45 mph in Maine and New Hampshire.

The National Weather Service says southern New Hampshire should get an inch to 4 inches before the storm tapers off later Tuesday. Central New Hampshire and parts of Vermont should expect 4 to 8 inches, and northern New Hampshire and part of Maine are expected to get 5 to 10 inches of snow.

7:00 AM:

New Hampshire is getting hit with its first winter storm of the season, leading to a messy Tuesday morning commute.

Speed limits on all state highways have been reduced to 45 miles per hour.

Steve Lavoie with Hometown Forecast says most areas in the southern part of the state are seeing a mix of snow and sleet, with some areas seeing only sleet.

“What we’re going to see down south is that’s going to transition to a wintry mix. We’re going to see some freezing rain mix in there. Eventually, most locations down south will go over to plain rain. As we head to the Lakes Region and points north, we’re going to see less of that mix of the sleet and freezing rain and more of the snow.”

Crews scrape ice and snow off the sidewalks in downtown Concord Tuesday morning.
Credit NHPR/Michael Brindley

Overall, the storm should bring 2-5 inches of snow to Concord and to the south, and 5-8 inches north of Concord.

The storm should taper off in the evening hours in southern areas and then before midnight up north.

The State Emergency Operations Center opened at 5:30 a.m.

At Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, Deputy Airport Director Tom Malafronte says crews started plowing operations just after midnight, and have been putting de-icing chemicals on the runways, taxiways, and ramps.

“The timing for this storm actually worked in our favor. We were able to get all of our arrivals in late last night. So other than one cancelation to Chicago this morning, everything is showing on time," he said. "But we’re watching the change from snow to sleet and potentially freezing rain very closely and that could certainly have an impact on flights as the morning goes on.”

The airport is encouraging travelers to check with their airlines on the status of their flights before leaving, and to give themselves ample time to get to the airport.

In downtown Concord Tuesday morning, crews were shoveling snow and ice off the sidewalks. 

Greta Earnst of Concord was in downtown on her way to work, stopping for some coffee.

"I got up this morning, and it's my birthday and my friend dug me out, it was lovely," she said. "I'm a warm weather person, but I have a lot of friends who love the snow. I know we need the snow, so I'm pretty excited to see the snow."