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Scattered outages, minor issues and loads of snow

WEEKEND NOR’EASTER

  • <br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Lyle Greig of Rindge, Brendon Olson of New Ipswich, Garrett Bergeron of Jaffrey, Jake Duhaime of Rindge and Dan Letourneau of Jaffrey gathered on Contoocook lake on Sunday to test out their sleds on the newly fallen snow.<br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • <br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • <br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Lyle Greig of Rindge joined a group of friends for a snowmobile outing in Rindge after the area was hit with over two feet of snow during a storm Friday and Saturday. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • <br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • <br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Lyle Greig of Rindge joined a group of friends for a snowmobile outing in Rindge after the area was hit with over two feet of snow during a storm Friday and Saturday. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Garrett Bergeron of Jaffrey plows through the snow covering the iced-over Contoocook Lake on Sunday during a snowmobile outing.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • <br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Garrett Bergeron of Jaffrey travels over more than two feet of new-fallen snow on Contoocook Lake on Sunday afternoon.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • <br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  •  A warmly dressed tractor driver clears a driveway on Main Street in Hancock Saturday morning. <br/>Staff Photo by Dave Anderson<br/>
  • A town Highway Department worker cleans snow from Main Street in Hancock Saturday morning. <br/><br/>Staff Photo by Dave Anderson
  • A town Highway Department worker cleans snow from Main Street in front of the Hancock Inn Saturday morning. <br/>Staff Photo by Dave Anderson

It wasn’t a blizzard. Here in the Monadnock region, Saturday’s storm didn’t meet the National Weather Service’s definition of “a severe snowstorm characterized by strong winds causing blowing snow that results in low visibilities.” Winds gusted strongly at times, but there were never sustained winds of more than 35 mph.

But the storm did drop a lot of snow throughout the region, requiring many residents to spend much of the day snowblowing, shoveling or plowing. Still, by Sunday, when the sun came out, most roads were open and many of them were clear.

The most significant storm related damage was at Franklin Pierce University, where the roof of the North Fields Activity Center, commonly known as the Bubble, collapsed early Saturday due to heavy snow accumulation and high winds (see separate story). Other than that, local police, fire and highway departments were reporting few problems and the storm caused no power outages.

“It was a really a nonevent for us.” PSNH spokesperson Laurel Brown said on Monday about the impact on the Monadnock region. “Things went really well. We had no outages due to the storm. We had tree crews in particular lined up to help and about 11 employees on call, but we were able to release them all on Saturday.”

PSNH spokesperson Mike Skelton said the storm caused few problems on the statewide level either.

“It was a very quiet storm,” Skelton said Monday. “We had scattered outages, about 400 customers affected in the Northwood area when a pole had to be replaced. The consistency of the snowfall was light and dry, which was good.”

Peterborough Police Chief Scott Guinard said officers responded to six “very minor” traffic accidents on Saturday, mostly for cars that had gone off the road and needed to be pulled back on.

“By and large, traffic was light, which certainly helped,” Guinard said. “Most businesses were closed, except the two convenience stores and Shaw’s and CVS.”

In Jaffrey, three people were injured after a car ran into a tree off Dublin on Friday afternoon, when snow was just starting to arrive. Police said Michael Gadwah, 49 of Meriden, Conn., and two passengers were injured and the Gadwah’s car, a 1992 Buick Park Avenue, had heavy damage and was towed.

In Hancock, DPW Director Kurt Grassett said in an email that the town “got hammered” between midnight and 4 a.m. on Saturday. Grassett actually pulled the plows off the road because it was too dangerous for the plow drivers to be out. But by 2 p.m., the sun was out and Hancock Police Chief Andrew Wood said the town had no snow related problems.

In Wilton, there were no reported injuries from accidents related to the weather, according to Police Chief Brent Hautanen.

“Mostly what we dealt with were motorists who were stuck,” Hautanen said in an interview Monday. “Most people I believe remained home. They listened to the advisory to stay off the roads.”

The officer in charge during the height of the storm reported assisting six or seven residents whose vehicles had gone off the road and become stuck in snow banks or who were unable to make it back to the main road, according to Hautanen. None of these incidents resulted in injured drivers or major vehicle damages. There were also no road closures or reported power outages in town.

There were no reported problems in Antrim, Francestown, Rindge or Lyndeborough.

According to National Weather Service data, Hancock had highest area snowfall, with 32 inches. Jaffrey had 30 inches, while Peterborough and Francestown both reported 27 inches. New Ipswich had 25 inches and Bennington 24 inches. Lyndeborough and Wilton each had 23 inches, Rindge had 20 inches and Antrim had received 18 inches.

Reporters Dave Anderson, Alyssa Dandrea, Brandon Lawrence and Ashley Saari contributed to this report.

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