By Mark E. Vogler
---- — As area communities in the Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire began the process of clearing tons of snow off roads, the governor's driving ban remained in effect until 4 p.m.
Area police departments reported few problems of unauthorized driving. But in the few cases where drivers violated the travel ban, area police officers issued verbal warnings instead of citations or arresting the violators.
Police are advising drivers to obey the ban, as the conditions of secondary roads remain treacherous. Some of the ramps to area highways remained unplowed late this morning.
Here's the latest from Governor Deval Patrick's office on the motor vehicle travel ban:
"As of 1:01 pm on February 9, 2013, the driving ban has been lifted for Nantucket County and for all communities west of I-91. The statewide driving ban will be lifted as of 4 PM today.
"Please continue to stay off the roads unless necessary to allow plows, utility crews and public safety officials to clear streets and restore power. Use common sense and be safe.
"Do not call 9-1-1 about the travel ban, phone lines are needed for emergency calls."
For the most part, electric power for area communities remained unaffected by the storm. There were 17 homes and businesses in Boxford still without power as of 1:15 p.m. But only a handful of customers in the dark in other communities collectively.
Overall, there were more than 160,000 homes and businesses without power statewide and more than 7,000 in Essex County. There were no notable outages reported in Southern New Hampshire.
Stay tuned for updates. #ETBlizzard