The first winter storm of the season landed a one-two punch across the Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire to knock out the start of the work week.

Town halls and courts remained closed Monday, while students and teachers basked in the first snow day of the year tacked onto Thanksgiving break.

Meteorologists, however, stayed busy tracking the prolonged storm. Plow truck drivers had no shortage of work.

Eric Schwibs of the National Weather Service said the region had to be ready for another round — this time, 4 to 8 more inches of snow before the Tuesday morning commute.

Already before sunrise Monday, snow totals were near 9 inches in Methuen, 8 inches in nearby North Andover and there were similar amounts just over the New Hampshire border in the Derry-Londonderry area, according to the National Weather Service.

Though the season is starting with a bang, Schwibs said it's not out of the ordinary and doesn't necessarily speak to a trend.

"We've had winter start earlier than this and much later than this before," he said. "That's how it goes around here."

Schwibs said the radar looks "fairly quiet" after this storm moves out of the area.

Unlike many New England snowstorms, this one did not come with whipping winds and ice accumulation that can lead to widespread power outages.

Still, Unitil, a provider of natural gas and electricity, pre-emptively opened its emergency operations center at 8 a.m. Monday and had crews on standby.

“We have staggered our crew resources to make sure we continue to have fresh crews available as the hours wear on during what is effectively a 48-hour weather event,” Unitil spokesman Alec O’Meara said in a statement.

“Crews will continue to stand by," the statement continued. "And we are ready to work closely with first responders to address public safety issues as needed during the storm.”

Local and state police urged drivers to stay off the roads to leave room for plow truck drivers to do their jobs. Anyone who had to be out was reminded to slow down and leave plenty of space between vehicles.

One of the only major issues reported was by state police, who responded early in the day to Interstate 495 north in Lawrence for a jackknifed trailer that temporarily shut down the highway. State police said no one was injured.

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