He said 30 public works vehicles hit the roads between 2 and 3 a.m. yesterday to treat them with sand and salt before they became treacherous.
Motorists were driving slowly and cautiously when the snow began to pick up about 7 a.m., he said.
“You always see with the first one, people are adjusting to the conditions,” Fowler said.
In Salem, public works director Rick Russell said his fleet was out on the streets at about 3 a.m.
“We had 17 on the road carrying out their assigned routes,” he said.
Electronic message boards along Interstate 93 warned motorists of the inclement weather.
“Winter storm. Watch your speed,” they said.
Highway crews were out in full force by 3 a.m., said William Boynton, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.
No major accidents were reported on I-93, according to Boynton and New Hampshire State Police spokeswoman Lt. Nicole Armaganian.
Roads were slick south of the border, including Andover, where there was a five-vehicle crash yesterday afternoon on Interstate 495 north.
The weather also delayed flights. There were delays yesterday morning to Philadelphia, Newark and Washington, D.C., according to Thomas Malafronte, assistant airport director at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.
Some people took the sloppy winter weather in stride, including Timothy Moran, 37, owner of The Halligan Tavern on West Broadway in Derry.
Moran was standing in the sleet yesterday afternoon, shoveling snow outside his business.
“It’s that time of year,” he said. “This is just the beginning.”
Marissa Escabi, 43, of Salem, an employee with the Derry Building and Grounds Division, wasn’t bothered by the wintry mess. She was out shoveling snow and salting at Veterans Memorial Hall and other public buildings.
“I don’t mind it,” she said. “If I did mind it, I would have found another job a long time ago.”