No Joke: Snow Hits Northern New England on April Fools’ Day

By | April 3, 2017

People across northern New England woke up to a foot of heavy, wet snow on parts of the region Saturday and conducted weekend business as more fell throughout the day.

The storm caused power outages and numerous highway accidents. By mid-afternoon the number of electric customers without power across Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine had dropped to about 8,100 from overnight totals almost three times that number. A winter storm warning in Vermont had expired, but remained in effect for parts of New Hampshire and Maine.

“This is Mother Nature’s idea of an April Fools’ joke,” said meteorologist Eric Schwibs of the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.

But he said that while it’s disheartening to see snow so late in the season, it’s not unusual. Winter had already brought more snow than normal to northern New England. Portland, Maine, recorded 84.4 inches of snow, 2 feet above normal for the city; Concord, New Hampshire, had 73.8 inches, about 15 inches above normal.

Bradford, New Hampshire, about 20 miles west of the capital Concord reported 18 inches of snow while the nearby town of Washington reported 17 inches.

The Boston area was forecast to get 3 to 4 inches of snow before the storm eases up about 4 p.m. A flood warning was issued for several Massachusetts counties after many areas received up to two inches of rain overnight.

High winds were expected on Cape Cod. The Steamship Authority canceled some ferries between Hyannis and Nantucket from 6:30 a.m. through 1:45 p.m. Saturday.

In Westport, Connecticut, police warned of possible road flooding during high tide.

Saturday, snow-related crashes were reported on the Maine Turnpike and, in New Hampshire, a loaded tractor-trailer rolled over on Interstate 95 in Hampton, blocking three lanes. The 34-year-old driver, a resident of Chelsea, Massachusetts, was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

In Vermont, the state’s largest electric utility, Green Mountain Power, had more than 21,000 customers back on line after they had lost power overnight. About 1,700 remained without service.

Kristin Carlson, a vice president for the utility, urged caution.

“People should stay away from down lines, as they may be live and dangerous, and be aware that downed trees could have power lines tangled in them and may also be unsafe,” she said.

Just after noon, New Hampshire’s Unitil utility reported a handful of its customers were without power, down from a peak of about 7,000 early Saturday.

Spokesman Alec O’Meara said customers still without power should call customer service.

“Never assume someone else has reported an outage impacting your home, especially if you see power restored to your neighbors,” O’Meara said. “You may have an issue exclusive to your home so be sure to report it.”

The late-season snow will further impact town budgets already under pressure from winter-related expenses. Before the storm, Bangor, Maine, was $150,000 over budget for snow removal and Portland was $270,000 over budget. Towns elsewhere in the region had similar stories.

Associated Press writers David Sharp in Portland, Maine, and Denise Lavoie in Boston contributed to this story.

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