NH News
8:56 am
Fri February 8, 2013

Storm Makes Its Arrival, Drops Nearly Two Feet Of Snow On N.H.

A Section of seawall in Rye has collapsed, closing another section of Route 1A on the
Seacoast. 

Rye Police Chief Kevin Walsh says that the seawall collapsed shortly after high tide this morning.
He says that the breach of the barrier left the roadway impassable.

"Certain sections where it had weakened had been pushed into Ocean Boulevard, so that the
boulevard roadway itself has parts of the seawall as well as ocean debris in it."


Walsh says that the debris cleanup will be a slow process.

(Roger Wood, NHPR)

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Jim VanDongen, spokesman for the state’s Office of Emergency Management, said New Hampshire has experienced no major problems from the storm.

A few more power outages are now being reported around New Hampshire this morning.  PSNH reports about 433 customers without electricity in the communities near Deerfield, Epsom, Northwood and Newbury.

Unitil and Liberty Utilities are reporting just one outage each.  New Hampshire Electric Co-op reports 14 outages.

It’s a different story in Massachusetts, where utilities report 400,000 customers are without power.  Maine's utilities report more than 12,000 outages. And there are very few outages reported in Vermont.

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COASTAL FLOODING REPORTED:

Hampton Police have closed off large sections of Ocean Boulevard as the storm surge has combined with High Tide to flood 1A along the shore.  Seabrook beach is the Southernmost beach in the state, and the town has activated the emergency operation center. 

Emergency Management Director Joe Titone says  that man-made sand berms erected on strategic spots on the beach have prevented any major flooding problems.

"There is some pounding surf, but we have no reports of any damages.  The berms that we have erected they have not been breached, so we’re in pretty good shape."

Titone also said that Route 1A has not been closed down to traffic, there are no power outages in town, and no residents seeking shelter.  Seabrook Beach is just across the border with Salisbury Beach in Massachusetts.  Emergency officials are urging residents to evacuate there.  Titone says Salisbury Beach is more prone to flooding.

"The tide and the rip that they have through there is different than what we have.  So they’re susceptible to that kind of damage along with South of them, Plum Island, which always has issues."

All State Beaches are closed until Sunday, but Titone said that there are people on Seabrook Beach, watching the high waves.

(Roger Wood, NHPR News)

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The National Weather Service in Gray, Maine is getting reports of snowfall around the state.

Volunteer weather spotters working with the National Weather Service have been trudging through the snow with yardsticks this morning, sending in their reports.

The numbers are unofficial but give an idea of what’s happening around the state.

National Weather Service official Mike Kistner has been going through them.

“Some of the totals that we have had across the area, in Rockingham County in Hampton we had 24 inches; in Derry 22 inches; in Fremont 19.5 inches; in Concord we have 20.3 inches; Henniker 20 inches; Webster 18.8 inches; Deerfield, we have 17 inches; Washington in Sullivan County we have 19 inches; in Meredith 10.8 inches that was as of 6:45 am so there might be a little more there now; in Madison we have 17.5 inches and in Berlin up in the North Country we have 14 inches.”

The storm warning continues through 4 p.m.

(Chris Jensen, NHPR News)

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New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan has declared a state of emergency as the snow storm has intensified.

She said a state of emergency is needed to allow for the mobilization of additional resources and to access any federal assistance that may become available.

Many parts of New Hampshire are expected to get 1 to 2 feet but some could get up to 30 inches.

Hassan has asked people to be off the roads by 7 p.m., when the worst of the snowstorm is expected to hit the state.

The state's Emergency Operations Center is being staffed as of 4 p.m. Friday and will remain so for the duration of the storm. 

(Associated Press)

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A coastal snowstorm is being blamed for a 19 car pileup, hundreds of cancellations and a half-foot of snow, and that's just a precursor to the blizzard to come in coastal Maine and New Hampshire.

The snow has picked up in New Hampshire and much more is on the way — possibly up to 2 feet.

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning beginning at 6:00 this evening for portions of southeast New Hampshire lasting through 4 p.m. on Saturday.

The warning was posted for Strafford and interior Rockingham counties.

Heavy snow, blowing snow and strong winds are in the forecast.

(Friday 2/8, Associated Press)

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Utility companies say they are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst for this winter storm.

Unitil spokesman Alec O’Meara says there is a full slate of workers on desk ready to respond to power outages that may arise due to the snow and high wind expected today and tomorrow.


“That’s a combination of bucket trucks, digger trucks, tree crews, wires down personnel. We’re planning to open up our system and regional emergency operations centers this afternoon and we’re gonna have folks on ready to respond if necessary.”

O’Meara urges people to stay away from downed power lines and to report any issues to the customer service line.

Unitil serves about 75,000 New Hampshire customers.  

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Nearly all arrivals and departures at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport have been canceled for Friday evening.

The airport is also listing scattered cancelations for Saturday morning.

The airport encourages those traveling Friday or Saturday to contact their airline for flight status and to see if they are offering flexibility on itinerary changes.    

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Many Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont post offices are closing early to avoid the worst conditions of Friday's snowstorm.

The offices are closing at 3 p.m.

Postal Service officials are allowing local postmasters to use discretion in shutting down operations early in the interest of their employees' traveling safety.

Normal post office hours of operation are expected to resume Saturday.

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Hometown Forecast Meteorologist Rob Carolan talks with Morning Edition host Rick Ganley Friday morning.  Here's his storm prediction:

"The northern part of the state, particularly north of the White Mountains, it's just going to be a moderate snow fall. But as you work your southward through the southern and central part of the state, this is going to be a really good storm, particularly for the south eastern part of the state."  

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The New Hampshire Department of Transportation has more than 700 plow trucks ready to go for a snowstorm expected to significantly impact the entire state.

Department spokesman Bill Boynton says that covers approximately 4,600 miles of state highway. Roughly 60 percent of the drivers are independent contractors driving their own trucks.

He says making sure roads are safe during a major storm such as this comes at a cost.

“For a typical statewide storm, eight hour storm with two applications, we’re looking at about $75,000 an hour for cost, or about $600,000 for an eight hour storm. So this could be an expensive one especially if it goes into midday around Saturday."

Boynton urges people to stay off the roads because of expected limited visibility. He says there are also concerns about coastal flooding.

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New Hampshire’s Emergency Operations Center is preparing for a winter storm expected to drop as much as 2 feet of snow in some parts of the state.

Acting Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Perry Plummer says his office held a conference call Thursday with local emergency management directors.

He says while the storm is expected to bring plenty of snow to the state, high winds are also a concern.

“And that’s going to create some power outages, though we’re hoping they’re not widespread because the snow is light and fluffy, which is good. We’re also concerned with flooding on the coast, some splash over, and some high tides with the winds on the coast which are going to be higher than the rest of the state.”

Plummer says there’s nothing unique about the storm as far as preparation tips go.

He urges people to stay off the roads, especially after 7 p.m. Friday. And he says people should be prepared for power outages by having the proper supplies and by using caution when operating a generator.

And as far as this being a storm of historic proportions?

“We don’t expect it to be historic at our level, but I can tell you that we’re preparing at a level that if it is historic, we will be prepared.”

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Operators of some ski areas in Massachusetts are excited by the prospect of the first major snowstorm they've seen since October 2011. Christopher Kitchin, inside operations manager at Nashoba Valley Ski Area in Westford, Mass., says people are eager to go skiing, snow-tubing and snowboarding.

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Forecast information from the National Weather Service in Gray, ME

School closing information from WMUR

Airline information/flight tracking for Manchester-Boston International (MHT)

511NH real time traffic/road closure information

Power outage maps: PSNH | Unitil | National Grid/Liberty | NH Electric Co-op

Live radar: