- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Quotes from New Hampshire residents coping with the snowstorm:

Bob Preston is a real estate agent in Seabrook, New Hampshire, a coastal town that was getting strafed by high winds and heavy snow Tuesday afternoon. Making his rounds to check on waterfront properties, he came up with one assessment.

“You’ve got to be crazy to be out,” Preston said. “The roads are terrible. It’s so easy to get stuck. You hit the snowdrifts everywhere. It’s not unusual to see 5-, 6-, 7-foot snowdrifts in some of the driveways.”

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In Concord, Mike Wilmot had strapped on his cross-country skis and was gliding down a nearly-deserted Main Street on Tuesday morning, moving easily with the wind at his back as he headed south.

“It gives me an excuse to run some errands today,” he said. “I love it!”

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Robert Lavallee stepped out of the Bagel Works coffee shop on Concord’s all-but deserted Main Street on Tuesday morning. Ribbons of snow blew horizontally from north to south and Lavallee was just fine with it.

“I would say to people, ‘Get outside and walk around in the middle of this beautiful, wonderful stuff,’” said Lavallee, a 26-year-old self-employed contractor who was headed to work clearing snow. “It just feels like a blanket. It almost makes me feel tucked in.”

Lavallee said he could appreciate the dire warnings even if the storm doesn’t match expectations.

“I think you should err on the side of caution but also be considerate of the other possibilities,” Lavallee said of forecasters.

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George Kontos was checking the news on his smart phone at Bagel Works. The 55-year-old owner of the Lost Your Shirt clothing store up the street was a college student at Keene State College during the Blizzard of ‘78, the massive Northeast storm killed about 100 people and set snowfall records throughout the region.

“Oh, much worse,” he said of that storm.

Still, Kontos couldn’t argue with the steady drumbeat of warnings coming from officials and carried extensively by the media, especially after the region was caught by surprise over Thanksgiving when a storm exceeded forecasts and knocked out power to more than 200,000 people, some for several days.

“I think they overhyped this one to make up for the Thanksgiving storm,” Kontos said. “It’s a public safety reason.”

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Sue Hillsgrove of Concord stopped at a downtown Dunkin Donuts on her way to work. She runs a home cleaning business and kept all her local appointments despite the storm. Many of her employees took the day off, but Hillsgrove said that wasn’t an option.

“I’m a single mom; if I don’t make income, I don’t buy groceries,” she said.

As for the roads, Hillsgrove says they were in “wonderful” condition.

“I was laughing that other people weren’t out here,” she said.

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Craig Barrett, an employee for the Concord Parks and Recreation Department, spent his morning plowing a pond in a local park - in case anyone wanted to brave the storm for skating.

“Technically the park’s open, but hopefully, no one shows up to skate,” Barrett said.

Barrett stopped for coffee about three hours into his shift, which began at 6 a.m. He planned to clean up the parks until mid-afternoon then pick up another shift plowing the roads until 11 p.m.

“No options here,” he said about whether he could’ve taken the day off. “We were coming in; we have to come in.”

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Leon Gadwah, a plow driver for the state’s Department of Transportation, started work at 2 a.m. and planned to continue working until the snow ends. So far, the roads have been clear and the conditions better than he expected.

“There haven’t been too many people on the road,” Gadwah said.

This is Gadwah’s fourth year as a plow driver, and he said Tuesday’s storm isn’t nearly as bad as the Thanksgiving snowstorm that knocked out power for days in parts of New Hampshire. The snow was heavier and wetter during that storm, he said, leading to more downed tree branches. Tuesday’s snow is much easier to deal with, he said.

“This is easy stuff; nice and fluffy because it’s cold out,” Gadwah said.

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Associated Press writers Holly Ramer in Bow and Jim Cole, Rik Stevens and Kathleen Ronayne in Concord, N.H., contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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