by Guy Page
Rep. Dennis LaBounty (D-Lyndon) pulled into the State House parking lot a few minutes late this morning. The heavy snowfall in the Northeast Kingdom and his own conscientious work ethic were the cause.
LaBounty, who is also a schoolbus driver, said he had to drive more slowly on his route today through the deep, greasy late winter snow. Also, two other drivers called in sick, forcing the school – shorthanded for substitute drivers – to shut down the morning routes. So LaBounty knew that finishing his route would relieve pressure on parents already being asked by friends and relatives to help get their kids to school.
Furthermore two schoolbuses in LaBounty’s district went off the road – a not uncommon occurrence across the state. In Berlin, a Washington County Central School District bus was photographed off the road.
At least his school district was open. WCAX reports that 260 schools (especially in harder-hit southern Vermont) were closed or delayed.
The State House lost power for about 45 minutes in the morning. The backup power generator was able to provide partial power.
The impacts of yesterday’s heavy wet snowfall were felt in most areas of Vermont. Tens of thousands of utility customers were without power, and travel was hazardous. The depth of snowfall varied widely by location. Roxbury received 22″, while Berlin (for example) was in the single digits. Some locations in New Hampshire and New York reported over 30 inches.
The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning for all of Vermont through Wednesday morning. Travel was hazardous throughout the storm as snow continues and winds blew snow over roadways, impacting visibilities for drivers.
Due to the storm intensifying in a wider geographic area, the Vermont Emergency Operations Center was partially activated Tuesday afternoon to assist towns and utilities with resource needs and other support.
On Tuesday, utilities expect restoration to take more than a day, in some areas. For restoration estimates or to report an outage please communicate with your electric utility.
Tens of thousands of homes were without electric service as of Tuesday afternoon, and many wer likely to be overnight and into Wednesday and beyond, particularly in the southern half of the state. If you need a warm place to go please call 2-1-1. – Information from Mark Bosma of the VT Emergency Management office contributed to this story.