While some of northern New England has already had more than its share of snow this winter, Vermont on Wednesday braced for what could be the biggest snowstorm of the season, with up to 2 feet of snow expected in some spots.
Northern and central Vermont missed the snowstorms that walloped parts of New Hampshire and Maine earlier in the season and didn't get its first big blast until mid-February. Before Wednesday's storm, Burlington had received 61 inches of snow — 6 inches below normal for the season. Northfield had gotten 67 inches, which is about normal for the season, and Rutland and southern Vermont were already ahead in snowfall for the winter.
"I don't think we've had enough snow," said Donna Watts, 66, of Plainfield who was looking forward to the storm. She said her husband is an avid skier and she likes an excuse to be stuck at home, where she planned to make vegetable soup.
Robert Hackett, 53, of Williamstown, also didn't mind the storm. "It's Vermont," he said, as he was about to gas up his van.
He said "it's probably the last big storm" and will help extend the ski and snowmobile seasons and help the economy.
Indeed, ski areas were enticing skiers and snowboarders with details of the storm on their websites.
"It has begun," Jay Peak posted on its website, reporting Wednesday afternoon that 3 inches had fallen at the base and 4 inches at the top.
"And this is just the tease," it continued. "By the time this storm rolls out of town tomorrow night we will be looking at TWO FEET, maybe even more."
Scores of schools were closed and travel was expected to get treacherous with gusty winds expected to produce near-blizzard conditions Wednesday evening. A tractor trailer truck slid into a home in Proctor on Wednesday morning and two other tractor trailers went off the road on interstates 89 and 91. Flights in and out of the Burlington International Airport were cancelled Wednesday afternoon and expected to resume Thursday morning.
It's already been a snowy winter in parts of New Hampshire and Maine. Concord, New Hampshire, had recorded about 71 inches of snow and Portland, Maine, about 80 inches of snow — more than 2 feet above normal — before the latest storm.
On the coast of Maine and New Hampshire the storm started as rain Wednesday morning, but was expected to turn to snow later Wednesday into Thursday. Projections called for 1 to 4 inches of snow in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 2 to 4 inches in Portland, and heavier snow inland, with 18-24 inches in the mountains of western Maine and northern New Hampshire.