CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- Snow plow drivers who watched their hopes of a long, busy season melt away months ago were happy Thursday to get back to work.
"In October, I thought we were going to get all sorts of snowstorms and (it) was going to be a good season for plowing, but definitely not. It didn’t turn out quite like I thought it was going to," said Adam Fowler of Concord.
"But today’s a lot of snow, so we’ve gotten a couple of runs in. So it’s a good thing."
An unusually early October storm dumped close to 2 feet of snow in Concord, but there’s been scant snowfall since. According to preliminary data from the National Weather Service, only 16 inches of snow fell in Concord from November through February, far below average. Thursday’s storm was expected to add more than 10 inches across much of New Hampshire, making it the biggest storm of 2012.
"I think we’ve done four, maybe five plows this whole season, so there’s not much plow work at all," said Fowler, whose brother, Ron, owns Bush-Fade Landscaping.
In Maine, the snow began falling in the overnight hours, causing hundreds of schools to cancel classes and businesses to shut down while slowing the morning commute with snow-slickened roads.
More than half a foot of snow had fallen across parts of southern Maine by midday, with the National Weather Service calling for accumulations of 5 to 15 inches by the time storm clears out Thursday night into Friday morning, with the deeper amounts in southern parts of the state.
Snow lovers welcomed the storm following a dry February in which only 1.5 inches of snow fell in Portland, Maine. The biggest storm of the year was on Jan. 12, when 8 inches fell.
Many schools in Vermont and most in New Hampshire already were closed this week for winter vacation, and some that had been scheduled to be in session in Vermont shut down because of the storm. Northern Vermont was expected to pick up 3-6 inches by late Thursday night, with 6-12 inches in the central and southern parts of the state.
In Sandwich, N.H., meteorologist Tony Vazzano was having a "mellow" day Thursday.
Tony Vazzano, a meteorologist and owner of North Winds Weather in Center Sandwich, N.H., said he was having a "mellow" day Thursday.
"It’s nice and snowy," said Vazzano. There’s no ice anywhere. There’s just a little bit of wind in places."
Vazzano, owner of North Winds Weather, provides daily, individualized weather reports for 18 major ski areas in northern New England. His said his reports Thursday were well-received.
"They’re loving this," Vazzano said. "Unfortunately there are some rain showers coming in Saturday morning, but that’s the kind of year it’s been."