EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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February 8, 2013

N.H. well prepared for what's to come

People across Southern New Hampshire stocked up and took the approaching blizzard in stride today.

"You're a New Englander," Beverly Proulx of Derry said as she bought gas. "This is no big deal."

Their coping strategy: Better safe than sorry.

"Stay inside, be safe, enjoy it," Jane O'Keefe said while running errands in Windham.

"Don't go anywhere that's not necessary," George Goutier said as he refueled in Derry. "Wait it out."

Last-minute purchases included essentials.

Susan Keenan of Windham bought bottled water.

"Be prepared," she said.

Husband Edward had another priority.

"I've got all the beer I need to get me through," he said.

The mindset to get business done and get off the roads helped road crews.

"The good part is most people are choosing to stay off the roads today," said Alan Cote, Derry Highway Department supervisor of operations.

Cote's team and others in the region prepared for action.

"Ready to roll," Cote said. "It's snow, we'll get through it."

Windham highway agent Jack McCartney shared that view.

"We're all set," McCarthey said. "All the sanders are on, all the plows are on, we're in good shape."

New Hampshire Department of Transportation spokesman William Boynton expected an advisory highway speed of 45 mph to be in place as the storm cranked.

"This is good for plowing, but limited visibility and a challenge for motorists," Boynton said.

With plowing costs amounting to $75,000 an hour, Boynton said this will be a $1 million storm for NHDOT, but the budget is on track this winter.

"We will have over 700 plows on the road for a storm like this," he said.

Boynton said traffic volume was down yesterday morning, but it was a different story overnight Thursday.

Northbound traffic was bumper-to-bumper on Interstate 93 about 9 p.m. at Exit 1 as Massachusetts skiers, given a break from school and work, headed early to the slopes.

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