A white blanket for Christmas

BENNINGTON — One of the busiest travel weekends of the year was bookended with winter storms, leaving some without power and with holiday plans confounded.

After the icy weather on Friday and Saturday left over 18,000 Vermont homes and businesses without power, overnight snowfall in the early hours of Christmas morning blanketed Bennington and the surrounding areas with a layer of snow that would have warmed Bing Crosby's heart. The National Weather Service reported snowfall amounts of 10 inches in Woodford, 9.5 in Manchester Center, 5 in Arlington, and 6 in Hoosick Falls as of Monday morning, although those numbers come from volunteer observers and are not considered official.

Even after the snowfall had slowed, the Bennington area remained in a wind advisory throughout the afternoon, with sustained winds between 20 and 30 mph and gusts of up to 55 mph. The National Weather Service in Albany advised residents to expect downed tree limbs and power lines, and to prepare for scattered power outages.

The weather created difficult driving conditions throughout the region. On Monday, just prior to 2:45 p.m., two vehicles struck each other in a head-on collision on North Branch Street in Bennington, leading to both motorists, who were not identified, being transported to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center. Their injuries were not believed to be life-threatening. North Branch Street was closed to traffic until about 3:30.

Throughout the afternoon on Monday, over 3,000 Vermonters were without power, according to Green Mountain Power, mostly in the eastern part of the state. "Our team is preparing now and we are ready to respond to any outages," said Kristin Carlson, GMP's vice president for strategic and external affairs in a press release on Sunday evening. "Safety is critical. Always stay clear of downed power lines and contact emergency responders immediately. We know outages are tough at any time, but especially during the holidays, and our dedicated crews will restore power if there is any damage, as safely and quickly as possible."

Bennington is expected to be without further snowfall through the coming work week, but temperatures are expected to drop as low as -10 degrees, with daily highs in the low teens and single digits.

Derek Carson can be reached at dcarson@benningtonbanner.com, at @DerekCarsonBB on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 122.


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