Winter Storm Brings Snow, Cold and Travel Woes to N.H.
Motorists are being urged to use caution and leave extra time for travel as a winter storm promises to deliver more snow and bitter cold temperatures to the Granite State.
New Hampshire Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Bonyton said roads are slick and that drivers need to take it slow. Speed limits have been reduced to 45 MPH on New Hampshire's interstates and turnpikes.
“The biggest problem is I think it is deceiving for motorists," Boynton said. "It appears that you are looking at black pavement, when in fact a lot of our anti-icing chemicals are not doing the job as well as they would normally do in higher temperatures.”
Police are reporting dozens of accidents due to the treacherous conditions. At least three people were transported to Concord Hospital this morning after nine vehicles, including two tractor trailers, were involved in multiple collisions on northbound I93, just south of the I89 junction in Bow.
The road was closed or restricted to one lane for about an hour and forty minutes while the accident scene was cleared.
The National Weather Service in Gray, ME, has issued a blizzard warning for coastal areas until 10 a.m. Friday. Wind chills as low as 20 below are expected for tonight and tomorrow morning, with snow accumulations of 12-14 inches. Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibility, including whiteouts, are likely.
For other parts of southern New Hampshire, a winter storm warning remains in effect until 10 a.m. Friday. The National Weather Service has said snow will become heavier this evening and continue through mid-morning.
Accumulations of 6 to 12 inches are expected in the southern half of New Hampshire, with lesser amounts in the north. Wind chills will drop to 5-7 below in the north and 25 below in southern areas tonight and early Friday morning.
Click here for more information about the storm, including emergency closings and power outage maps.
Gov. Maggie Hassan issued a statement around noon, saying NHDOT crews are working around the clock to keep roads clear and state Homeland Security and Emergency Management officials are in close contact with the National Weather Service. “Forecasts indicate that travel conditions on New Hampshire’s roadways will continue to be the most pressing area of concern for the state during this winter storm," Hassan said. "We will continue to closely monitor the storm and provide updates as needed.”
NHDOT Director of Operations Bill Janelle said the agency's crews have been out since early morning plowing and treating roads. He urged drivers to avoid sudden breaking or steering, do not use cruise control, take extra time to reach your destination and leave plenty of room between vehicles.
“Conditions in many locations may be worse than they appear," Janelle said. "Right now the message is slow down! No motorist should be currently going more than 45 MPH on any New Hampshire road.”
Click here for NHDOT's winter driving tips.
The winter storm has led to the cancellation of a majority of flights both in and out of Manchester Regional Airport. But Assistant Director Tom Malafronte said the light, dry snow is easy to clear off of runways and the airport should be back to a normal schedule as early as Friday afternoon.
"We've had the crews out there all day," he said. "They'll be ready to go out all night tonight, and when all the airlines are ready to go tomorrow, we'll be ready to go as well."