Vermont, N.H., Maine digging out from big snow
Snowfall in New Hampshire ranged from 5 inches to more than 18 inches. In Vermont, totals will reach up to 20 inches in some places by the end of the storm.
It made for a slippery commute across the three states, with at least 20 cars, including three state plows, going off the road in Vermont in the last 24 hours, according to Larry Dodge of the Vermont Agency of Transportation.
In Newbury, N.H., where about a foot of snow fell, Police Chief Bob Lee said the roads are in very poor shape, though there was good news: nobody is using them.
"People aren't out in it frankly because there's so much snow out there people are still trying to get out of their driveways," Lee said.
Vermont delayed the opening of non-essential state offices. Maine state offices opened two hours later than normal. New Hampshire state offices did not have any delays.
A light wind and snow buffeted Janice Babbitt of Newport, N.H., as she made her way into the post office.
"The snowbanks are so high you can't even see up the road," she said. "This was a good one. This really was a nor'easter."
Rick Lachapelle spent part of his Friday morning shoveling the steps of the Montpelier Recreation Center. This is the biggest snow of the season he's plowed so far, said Lachapelle, who has been plowing for the Montpelier school district for the past 20 years. But he's not complaining.
"It's what living in Vermont is about," Lachapelle said.
Not all residents were as pleased.
June Picard said the Montpelier grocery store where she works was a mad house before the storm.
"We were terrible busy yesterday," Picard said Friday morning. "People go into a panic."
"I'm so done with the snow, just stick a fork in me," said Sue Shevett, a restaurant manager in Sunapee, N.H., where more than 18 inches fell. She was ready to take her frustrations out on prognosticating rodent Punxsutawney Phil.
"That groundhog needs to be shot," she said.
In Portland, Maine, where pedestrians had to dodge slush, puddles and piles of snow, some people said they'd had enough of winter after the latest storm, which brought the season's snowfall to 67.4 inches. That's more than 2 feet above normal for this time of the year, according to the National Weather Service.
"We're ready for it to end. We're ready for spring," said Charlotte Stanton, 23, of Portland, whose leather boots were soaked. "It's wet and gross," she added.
Others remained undaunted. Lu Van Zeeland used skis to trek into downtown Montpelier, where paper hearts adorn storefronts and restaurants in the state capital like clockwork every February 14.
"With the snow and the hearts, it's like being in a Valentine's Day snow globe," said Van Zeeland, who works at Morse Farm Ski Touring Center. She said groomers for the Nordic trails had been out since 6 a.m. getting the paths in shape for the holiday weekend ahead.
At Bob Skinner's Ski and Sport near New Hampshire's Mount Sunapee ski area, owner Frank MacConnell was overjoyed.
"There's never too much snow," he said. Sales and rentals are "off the charts" and MacConnell said the storm is a perfect prelude to the traditionally lucrative President's Week holiday.
For florists, the timing was terrible.
"This storm could not have been worse for us," said Donna Mahair, owner of the Petal Patch flower shop in Newport, N.H., where more than a foot of snow fell. "All the schools are closed so all the deliveries that were going to the schools, we now have to track down the people they were going to."
Mahair trudged through the snow at 4 a.m. just to reach her shop, which was stuffed wall-to-wall with vases, boxes and bouquets.
"It looks like Cupid threw up," said deliveryman Brad Palmer.
Many schools across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont remain closed while the region begins to dig out from the storm.
"Right now, we'd probably be doing math, but instead we just finished up getting breakfast at the diner," said Montpelier 5th grader Caroline Graubert.
Her little brother Seth said he didn't like wearing snow gear but it wasn't stopping the 4-foot-5 3rd grader from jumping into windswept snowbanks around his house, which he said were so high only his head stuck out.
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