Winter Storm Update: One-Two Punch of Snow Leads to Messy N.H. Commute, Closures

Dec 2, 2019

Update 1:50 p.m.: The Granite State continues to plow and dig out after one of the largest early season snow storms in recent memory. It was, as Durham Town Manager Todd Selig calls it, "one humdinger of a storm."

The National Weather Service snowfall estimates have Amherst, Antrim, Londonderry, and Rindge getting nearly two feet of snow over the 48-hour plus storm.  

Selig said Durham received 14 inches of snow in 48 hours. He anticipates the town cost for responding to the storm to exceed $30,000. 

Other town snow totals, as reported by National Weather Service observers: Keene with 12 inches, Nashua with 14 inches,  and Hooksett ringing in with 19 inches.

The snow storm is winding down Tuesday morning in southern New Hampshire, contributing to a second day of a messy morning commute.

Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth, Exeter, Hampton, Hudson, Newmarket, Salem, school districts were among those calling for another snow day.

Others, like Concord, Contoocook Valley, Rochester, Sunapee and Kearsarge school districts, have a two-hour delay.

As the storm system is making its way to the east, the National Weather Service extended a winter storm warning until 1 p.m. for Rockingham and Strafford counties, as well as for eastern Hillsborough County. The forecast calls for 1- to 3- inches snow Tuesday morning. 

The state continues to monitor the storm from the emergency operations center in Concord. Few power outages have been reported; Unitil reported about 50 outages in Hampton Falls at about 7 a.m.

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Updated at 4:40 p.m. Monday:

The first snowstorm of the season is expected to pick back up tonight in southern New Hampshire. National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Schwibs says the storm will intensify off the Gulf of Maine before moving inland.

"As we head through the evening hours and overnight...what that’s going to do is help to spread snow back north and west into the area."

He says the same parts of New Hampshire that got heavy snow last night could see another 6 to 10 inches by Tuesday morning. That could bring the total snowfall in some towns to around two feet. The Northern counties may get a few more inches.

Schwibs says the snow should taper off before the main commuting hours.

State officials still warn drivers to use caution, take it slow if they have to drive... and to clear snow off their cars before setting out.

- Annie Ropeik

Earlier updates:

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning in effect until early Tuesday morning for southern and central New Hampshire, with weather advisories issued for northern parts of the state.

Snow began falling Sunday evening, and is expected to accumulate throughout the day Monday, with some areas seeing over a foot. "Don't let  your guard down on Monday, because it's quite possible we could receive another round or two of heavier snow coming again Monday night into Tuesday," says Maura Casey, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Ted Kitchens, director of Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, says crews are plowing runways around the clock, but delays and cancellations at airports elswewhere have contributed to some local back-ups. 

"This has done quite a number for travel across the country," he says of the storm system.

Air travelers are encouraged to check with their airlines for flight status.

Plow crews kept busy Monday, anticipating a second weather system bringing additional snow overnight.
Credit Alex McOwen for NHPR

Challenging Storm Pattern

The forecast calls for a lull during the day Monday, while the weather system is expected to recharge over the Gulf of Maine.

National Weather Service meteorologist John Cannon says the storm could then spread inland.

"Perhaps the Seacoast, perhaps all the way to Concord, there might be additional accumulating snow," he says. "It's not too clear right now how far west that snow will come."

Cannon says commuters should keep a close eye on forecast updates as the storm path evolves.

— Annie Ropeik

Snow piles up in parts of N.H.

Some parts of the state have already received more than a foot of snow. In Concord, Joan Conroy welcomed the weather:

Her neighbor, Mike Painchaud, welcomed a break from shoveling to discuss the snow:

"I'm going ok, but it's my birthday, and this isn't what I wanted to do on my birthday," he said. "I guess moore is coming on the way, so."

— Alex McOwen

State Public Safety Monitoring Storm

The state's Emergency Operation Center in Concord opened at 6 a.m. to monitor the storm and support response efforts to the first major storm of the season.

State public safety officials urge Granite Staters to only travel during the storm if absolutely necessary. Highway speeds are reduced to 45 mph. 

Mary McIntyre

Resources:

School district closures stretch across the state, including Concord, Manchester, Nashua, Pinkerton Academy, and Portsmouth. Click here for a list of closures from WMUR-9

Advisory map: National Weather Service at 6:30 a.m. Monday.