- Associated Press - Monday, February 2, 2015

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Another winter snowstorm slowed travel across Vermont on Monday and forced delays or cancellations of schools, meetings and sports events, while people coped with temperatures that hovered around zero.

Accidents were reported on Interstates 89 and 91 and other roadways across the state. There were at least four instances in which vehicles hit plow trucks clearing roads, the governor said. Minor injuries were reported in some of the crashes reported since the storm hit early Monday.

The storm was forecast to dump up to 14 inches of snow across a swath of Rutland and Windsor counties, with lesser amounts in other locations, before moving out in the evening.

Burlington International Airport reported a handful of delays and cancellations, mostly to and from airports also affected by the storm, but other flights were operating normally.

Gov. Peter Shumlin urged motorists to drive carefully and be alert for snow plows after four vehicles struck plows in various parts of the state.

“The cold temperatures and dusty snow can cause very poor visibility around the trucks as they clear the roads,” Shumlin said. “The safest place on the road right now is a reasonable distance behind a plow truck. Let’s all take it slow and ensure everyone gets home safely tonight.”

While the winter storm warning is expiring, high temperatures are forecast to be just above zero. Overnight low temperatures could fall to minus 15, with wind chills forecast for minus 30.

The frigid temperatures followed a January that was 2.8 degrees colder than normal for the month. With an average temperature of 15.9 degrees at the Burlington airport, it was the second coldest January since 1994, the coldest being 14 degrees in 2009.

But since the National Weather Service began keeping records in 1884, January 2015 was about in the middle, tying the average January temperatures from 1905 and 1931. The record cold for that period came in 1970 when the January temperature averaged 3.6 degrees. The record warm January was 30.1 degrees in 1906.

Vermonters have watched as other parts of New England have been whacked by successive storms that dumped, in some cases, more than 2 feet of snow. So far, snowfall this season is 8.8 inches ahead of normal at the Burlington airport, although January was a bit below average, said National Weather Service Meteorologist Jessica Neiles. But that was before Monday’s storm is taken into account.

“There haven’t been any blockbusters, really, just normal snowstorms,” she said.

Across Vermont, the storm canceled some schools, delayed others and postponed sporting events, bingo games and government meetings. Shumlin canceled scheduled visits to Springfield and Brattleboro.

Vermonters, for the most part, coped with the snow and cold.

“We know what to do, we have the machines to clear the roads right away. My friends in Long Island, they’re snowed in,” said Joy Spontak of Montpelier, who was walking her dog with her friend David Klein of East Montpelier. “I love winter. I love cold weather. I don’t like hot weather.”

Klein said he sometimes complains about the weather, but when he does he feels guilty.

“The snow is so pretty,” Klein said. “The city is great, but in the country there are shapes everywhere, drifts, the trees bending down. It’s absolutely gorgeous.”


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