BRATTLEBORO -- Southern Vermont is not expected to be hit heavily by the storm system forecasters continue to monitor as it inches closer to New England after wreaking havoc in the western parts of the country.
Still, agencies such as the Vermont Department of Public Safety, the National Weather Service and the Brattleboro Police Department want to warn people to stay safe while driving to their Thanksgiving destinations. This weekend is typically the most traveled day in the country, but there are pointers to help avoid disaster on the open road, especially for a Thanksgiving as cold as this one is expected to be.
Tom Kines, a meteorologist with AccuWeather, told the Reformer this area will primarily see rain that is expected to start later tonight and possibly turn into heavy freezing rain, snow or sleet. Kines said the precipitation will continue into Wednesday. He mentioned Thursday looks dry, though he does not expect the temperature to rise above 32 degrees.
Kines told the Reformer that Friday and Saturday should feature a good amount of sunshine, though temperatures will remain in the lower 30s. The immediate area, he said, will likely fare well, but northern Vermont and the Adirondack Mountains of New York state will be hit with heavy snow.
Though Brattleboro is expected to be spared the worst of any coming storm, Police Chief Gene Wrinn had some tips to help avoid unnecessary accidents. He recommends everyone put snow tires on their vehicles and give themselves plenty of time to get to where they are going.
"Take the extra two minutes, leave early, take your time, get there safely," he said Monday afternoon, adding that people with four-wheel drive can be overly confident on the roads. "Four-wheel drive is not four-wheel stop. They'll help you get going in the snow, but they won't help you stop in the snow."
Wrinn recommends people increase their "following distance," or the space between their vehicle and the one in front of them. He also said the elderly and disabled might need some extra help during storms and advises checking on your neighbors and family members to make sure everything is all right.
According to the Vermont Department of Public Safety, the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for most of Vermont, with impacts expected Tuesday evening through Thursday morning. It also listed travel pointers.
The NWS recommends everyone slows down while driving and remember that bridges and overpasses can freeze up with black ice sooner than roadways. Drivers should stay alert, because snowdrifts and snow banks can often hide children or smaller vehicles, and always yield to snowplows to give the operators plenty of space to do their job. It is also recommended to always have at least a half-tank of gas and a windshield scraper and small broom in the vehicle for snow removal. It is also wise to have a well-stocked winter emergency car kit that includes a flashlight with extra batteries, basic First-Aid kit, shovel, tow rope, road maps, road flares/reflectors and blankets or sleeping bags.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.