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Season’s first snowstorm means business

By Dean Shalhoup | Dec 2, 2019

NASHUA – December was just hours old when the first significant snow event of the season rode into Greater Nashua and much of the Northeast, and forecasters say the storm, come tonight, could end as robustly as it began.

Meteorologist Doug Webster, The Telegraph’s weather columnist, predicted late Sunday that Nashua area folks would find somewhere in the range of 6-9 inches of snow on the ground when they get up this morning.

That number could increase by a couple of inches, Webster said, depending on whether a few bands of sleet decide to mix in with the snow. If that happens, he said, it likely would occur around midnight.

Another variable that could affect the final accumulation totals is the potential for a so-called “backlash,” which is what forecasters call the scenario when an upper-level low-pressure system “captures” the main storm center and “pulls” it back over the same territory, Webster explained.

If that does happen, it would likely be sometime tonight, Webster said. It all depends on what happens when the original storm reaches the Gulf of Maine, he added.

While Sunday evening was still “a little too early to pin that down” for tonight’s forecast, Webster said Greater Nashua could see an additional 2-3 inches tonight, an estimate that could climb as high as 5-6 inches in the event a backlash materializes. Total accumulation could equal more than foot of snow by the storm’s end, he said.

Meanwhile, school closings for today began showing up online and in alert messages as early as midday Sunday. In SAU 39, which covers Amherst and Mont Vernon schools, officials by Sunday night were already looking ahead toward closure Tuesday, stating in a Facebook post that officials are monitoring conditions “as snow may continue until Tuesday morning.”

Webster said he sees the potential for some treacherous going during the day today, not only for drivers, but also for pedestrians as well.

“I don’t think there will be too much (precipitation) during the day, but there could be periods of freezing rain or sleet,” he said.

Snow began falling around mid-afternoon Sunday in Nashua and only grew steadier by the hour. It wasn’t long before vehicles began spinning out and sliding off roadways, sometimes into guard rails or trees.

With the rash of crashes came frequent radio traffic among first-responders, particularly police officers who were often dispatched to a reported crash while they were still covering a scene.

Photographer and videographer Jeff Hastings said police were forced to close a stretch of the Everett Turnpike in Nashua and up to Exit 10 in Merrimack because of multiple crashes that backed up traffic for more than a mile.

Nashua declared a snow emergency Sunday night, effective until 6 a.m. this morning. City officials said the emergency will be extended into later today and possibly tonight, if necessary.

Nashua residents may access more details about what a snow emergency entails at www.nashuanh.gov.

Dean Shalhoup may be reached at 594-1256 or dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com.

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