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North Country Digs Out Of Winter Storm

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Schools are closed and state offices in Vermont delayed the start of the work day today. But the snowstorm that rampaged up the Atlantic coast is being met with typical New England pragmatism in Vermont and New York.

There are no local states of emergencies, although you will find some parking bans in Burlington and Plattsburgh and a parking emergency to the south in Albany. With upwards of two feet of snowfall in some areas, Vermont Emergency Management is asking people to travel only if necessary in order to give crews the chance to clear snow. Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Spokesman Mark Bosma says snow depths are making roads slippery and winds are reducing visibility.  "It’s a general concern throughout the state. There’s really no good place to drive right now. There are areas of southern Vermont that received up to two feet of snow. Those are localized reports. We’re all seeing winds right now, so its not a great day to travel.”

National Weather Service Burlington Meteorologist Bob Schiesser says this storm has been a typical coastal Noreaster.  “It came up the eastern seaboard and up into New England. So if you want to call it a Noreaster, I guess many people will. It certainly has all the characteristics of one, a deepening  low center off the eastern seaboard. We’re tracking it right now through the Gulf of Maine towards Nova Scotia.”

Schiesser reports a wide range of snow depths across the region.  “They range from as little as two to five inches across parts of northern New York to eight to ten inches across the northern tier of New York. Across Vermont, they range anywhere from about six inches in parts of the Champlain Valley to as much as fifteen to twenty inches across southeastern Vermont, from Washington County down through Windsor County.  We’ve had a lot of reports of blowing and drifting snow across the region making it difficult in many places to get accurate measurements on the snow.”

Despite the depths of snowfall and winds , there have been few reports of power outages in Vermont, according to Mark Bosma.  “It’s very light and fluffy. It’s not taking down a lot of trees or power lines. There have been some power outages this morning. We’re not sure what caused that. But we were fortunate in this storm that it was more light and fluffy snow as opposed to the heavy stuff that is more likely to take down tree limbs and power lines and cause power outages.”

Clinton County New York Director of Emergency Services Eric Day says while schools and local colleges have closed, there have been no power outages. He says New York’s northernmost county has fared well.   “It’s winter in the North Country.”

Day calls this a typical Noreaster that’s not causing serious problems. He says what’s confusing residents is the governor’s State of Emergency issued Thursday. There is no local State of Emergency, and he notes that the state-issued declaration pertains to state resources.  “The executive orders were to allow state resources to assist, if necessary,  local governments in dealing with the response. If a state of emergency is declared and there’s intended to be a travel ban the executive orders will actually state that.”

The snowstorm did cause the Vermont Foodbank to cancel food deliveries in parts of the state. The Foodbank serves as a distribution hub to food shelves across Vermont. CEO John Sayles says it’s not the first time they’ve had to delay deliveries, but this was a last-minute decision. Sayles wanted to notify seniors in need.  “We weren’t sure what this storm was going to bring us. We’re really most concerned about our seniors. We have a senior program where we deliver a box of food to seniors once a month. There were a couple of those deliveries scheduled today, and we wanted to make sure that we let all those people know not to venture out in the weather to try to pick up their food. We will re-schedule to get it to them as soon as we can.”

New snowfall of one to three inches is expected across the region on Saturday.

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