School\'s Closed By Wintry Nor\'easter

The arrival Tuesday morning of a wintry nor'easter kept students out of the classroom across Southern New Hampshire, but created few problems for emergency personnel.

All schools in the area — districts in Windham, Pelham, Salem, Derry, Hampstead, Pelham, and the Timberlane and Sanborn regions — cancelled classes for the day as temperatures hovered around freezing and precipitation formed an icy coating on cars and roads. Police and fire officials, however, said that for a winter storm, the day had been quiet.

"For a snowstorm, it's been pretty peaceful," said Capt. Vern Thomas of the Derry police. "People have pretty much stayed off the roads — it's been pretty minimal activity out there."

"Conditions have improved significantly in the last three to four hours," said Mike Fowler, Derry's director of public works. Tuesday morning crews were out scraping the roads and salting, resulting in clear primary roadways.

In Pelham, a portion of Island Pond Road between Dutton Road and Cara Lane was closed about 10 a.m. due to a downed wire, but by 1 p.m., no power outages were reported in the area.

Police in Londonderry and Salem reported a handful of minor accidents — spin-outs and rear-end fender-benders — but said no injuries had been reported since about midnight.

"We've only had three accidents since midnight last night," said Lt. Jason Breen of Londonderry. 

Towns to the east, including Atkinson and Plaistow, reported the same and credited responsible drivers with taking it slow and staying off the roads.

"It's actually been pretty quiet," said Capt. Val Eiro of Plaistow. "I don't know if a lot of people stayed home or if they're just driving responsibly, but it's real quiet."

Chief Albert Brackett of Atkinson went so far as to say his department had "no issues with the roads whatsoever."

Precipitation was light Tuesday afternoon, where the freezing rain dwindled to a drizzle or mist, but the National Weather Service has maintained a freezing rain advisory for the area through 10 p.m.

"The big thing is, in some areas, I'm sure the secondary roads might still have some slush and ice around. Main roads, from what I can see, seem (safe)," said Eric Schwibs, a meteorologist with the weather service.

Schwibs said the precipitation was not expected to end until midnight Tuesday.

"The question is in southeast New Hampshire, you'll be within a degree or two of freezing — but again, if the surface is treated, it's not going to be so bad," Schwibs said. 

"At this point we've got enough materials down on the roads that should take us through the next couple of hours," Fowler, of Derry public works, said. "There's a chance temperatures could drop below 32 degrees...we'll address that if we have to tonight."

"The good news tomorrow," Schwibs added, "is we're looking at temperatures getting up to around 40 (degrees) so that's going to help melt everything."

In Massachusetts, there were a handful of power outages in the Merrimack Valley as winds and driving rain brought to trees and limbs.

An Andover family had a close call as a large tree struck their home and cars at 4 a.m. Tuesday and driver in North Andover escaped serious injury when his car flipped over on icy roads and caught fire at about 9 a.m.


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