Outdoors

More than 8,000 customers still without power from weekend blizzard

Rte. 9 Chain Law invoked

Dexter the Vermont Daily Chronicle office assistant checks out the fallen tree on snow-covered railroad tracks in Berlin.

By Guy Page

Eastern and southern Vermont received the worst of the wet snow and resulting power outages during the season’s first major blizzard this weekend (Thursday-Saturday), according to National Weather Service data.

Snowfall: The heaviest snowfall reportedly occurred in southern Vermont ski town Wilmington, with 24.5 inches. The Journal-Opinion, the community newspaper published in Bradford, reports heavy snowfalls for the following towns in Orange and southern Caledonia counties:

Above, power outages as of mid-morning Monday December 19, from http://www.vermontoutages.org. Below, the Rte. 9 Chain Law was invoked for big trucks crossing Rte. 9 in southern Vermont.

Barnet 14.5

Bradford 17

Chelsea 17

Corinth 17.5

Groton 12

Ryegate 10

Vershire 18.3

West Newbury 14.5

Power outages were widespread, mostly caused by trees and tree limbs laden with heavy, wet snow falling on power lines. 

Although Washington Electric Coop and Stowe Electric both reported some outages, almost all of those still in the dark as of 10 AM this morning were Green Mountain Power customers, the state’s largest utility. As of 10:17 AM this morning, Green Mountain Power reported 8,356 customers still without power, down from about 10,000 on Sunday. Vermont Electric Coop, which serves mostly northern Vermont, reported no outages. 

Roads closed: VTrans reported more than 25 trees that fell across Route 5 in Norwich, Thetford, and Fairlee causing various outages and road closures. I-91 near the Windsor exit was closed part of yesterday due to downed lines. Putney, Poultney, and Londonderry also saw roads closed due to downed tree and power lines. Accidents, car fires, and an overturned propane truck also temporarily closed slippery highways across the state. 

The State of Vermont even invoked the little-known Chain Law. Through Saturday morning, all trucks weighing 13 tons or more had to install chains on their tires to cross Rte. 9, the curvy, mountainous highway between Bennington and Wilmington. 

Still, it’s been worse: two years ago, Vermont received twice as much snow. And exactly 100 years ago, the problem was frigid cold, the Journal-Opinion reports:

One hundred years ago today, area residents woke up to some chilly temperatures.

The Groton Times reported that thermometers plunged to 20 below zero on the morning of Dec. 19, 1922. It only got colder as the following morning dipped to 35 below zero for some folks.

The paper also reported that there was a coal shortage in the Wells River area meaning the primary heating fuel for some residents was unavailable. The shortage, however, was not widespread as the paper reported coal deliveries in Woodsville continued apace.

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