EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 27, 2013

Storm causes few problems for Thanksgiving travelers

Rain leads to few travel problems

By Alex Lippa

---- — When Teo Drake started his journey from Boston to Burlington, Vt., yesterday morning, he was a little concerned about the weather. But, he said, he soon was surprised by what he saw on the roads.

“It’s nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be,” said Drake, who was stopping for gas at the Nashua Road Mobil in Londonderry yesterday. “It’s rainy and windy, but there’s no traffic and it’s been easy so far.”

Although the storm coincided with one of the busiest travel days of the year, there were few problems on the roads related to the storm. James Brown of the National Weather Service said the brunt of the storm occurred before dawn.

“There was about 2 inches of rain which fell yesterday,” Brown said. “Most of the storm was primarily before it was even light out.”

Brown said winds approached 50 mph at the coast, with 40 mph winds inland. He said the rain already was letting up at around 10 a.m. yesterday.

Both Massachusetts and New Hampshire state police said things went relatively smoothly.

“It’s a busy day so there is a lot of volume on the roads,” Massachusetts State Police Trooper Todd Nolan said. “We aren’t seeing a lot of crashes. In certain areas, we’re seeing a lot of trees being uprooted across the roadways. But traffic has been moving all day.”

Things looked about the same in the Granite State, New Hampshire State Police Lt. Christopher Wagner said.

“So far, so good,” Wagner said yesterday afternoon. “We just have had some minor issues, but nothing’s been out of the ordinary.”

Wagner said there was a fatal crash in Hillsboro, but he didn’t know if the crash was weather related.

Martin Murray, spokesman for Public Service of New Hampshire, said the storm caused just scattered outages throughout the state.

“It’s been fairly quiet,” Murray said. “We don’t have any special concern, we are just going to keep an eye on the weather.”

While temperatures reached 60 degrees yesterday, they will make a dramatic turn today. Brown said he expects the high temperature to be in the low 30s in Southern New Hampshire and the Merrimack Valley.

“People have to beware of the roads icing over,” Brown said.

But while an icy road could be a big concern, frozen tree branches tomorrow may not be as big of an issue.

“It’s not going to be freezing rain because the temperatures are so warm,” said Fred Borman, natural resources field specialist for the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. “The trees are also more equipped to handle it with the leaves out of the trees.”

Borman’s biggest concern is trees being uprooted.

“When the ground becomes supersaturated and we continue to get high winds, we might see more trees blowing over,” he said. “That would be more of a concern then freezing precipitation.”

But for most Thanksgiving travelers stopping in Londonderry yesterday, the weather was no big deal.

“I come through here all the time,” said Ernest Giliunas, 59, of Warren, Vt. “This isn’t anything too major. All the roads seem to be fine.”

Jesse Lee, 46, of Worcester, Mass., said traffic was slow at times on his way to Lebanon, N.H.

“Visibility has been the toughest part for me,” he said. “It’s gotten pretty foggy at some points.”

Stephen Tayver, 60, of Boston said he wasn’t surprised that his trip to Burlington had been trouble free to that point.

“I had kind of anticipated it and saw that it would be tapering off by the morning,” he said. “It seemed everyone tried to get out yesterday, so we lucked out.”

Thomas Malafronte, spokesman for Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, said there were just a few delays yesterday.

“(Yesterday) and Sunday are traditionally two of the busiest days of the year,” he said. “We’ve had some minor delays, but all things considered, things have gone very smoothly.”

Cliff Cole, spokesman for Amtrak, said there were delays between Boston and New Haven, Conn., due to fallen trees yesterday morning. But those were clear by the afternoon.