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BRATTLEBORO — The Brattleboro Town Manager is asking people to exercise caution by staying off the roads today unless there is an emergency.

"This continues to be a time to exercise caution by avoiding travel unless necessary, using equipment such as generators and portable heaters carefully and with proper ventilation, thinking about and checking on your neighbors to make sure they are all right," wrote John Potter in a news release issued Wednesday morning.

Potter noted that about 9 percent of Brattleboro is still without power, down from 25 percent last night.

"Surrounding towns have as many as 90 percent of [their] residents without electricity, as of this briefing," wrote Potter. "Green Mountain Power has been working hard overnight to clear roads and re-establish service."

The Red Cross is opening a regional shelter at Brattleboro Union High School at 9 a.m. today.

"The focus will be on having a place to warm up and charge phones," wrote Potter. "The efforts of the Red Cross and their many volunteers is a great benefit to Brattleboro and surrounding towns."

He wrote that seven highway crews from the Brattleboro Department of Public Works Highway worked all night plowing roads, clearing trees, and checking access.

"They reported 48 roads currently obstructed in Brattleboro resulting from 81 total recorded events, mostly trees and wires down," wrote Potter. "Of these trees down, 23 have been cleared up so far, and five crews continue to be out keeping roads clear and coordinating with Green Mountain Power this morning."

In addition, firefighters from the Brattleboro Fire Department responded to 47 calls since the start of the storm.

"The town is fortunate to have such dedicated professionals responding to emergency situations with care, attention, and commitment to the safety and welfare of Brattleboro residents and visitors," wrote Potter.

He asked people to stay away from any downed power lines and report them to 911 and Green Mountain Power at or by calling 888-835-4672.

As of Wednesday morning, 180 additional lineworkers assisted Green Mountain Power workers with restoring power to more than 59,000 of the 83,000 customers who lost power as a result of the storm.

"Adding to difficulties in the field, crews face time consuming challenges working with local first responders in clearing roads from downed trees and lines," states information from GMP.

Forecasters have extended wind advisories and the winter storm warnings into this afternoon for some of the hardest hit areas of Vermont, which could cause additional outages and continued dangerous travel conditions.

Erica Fuller, shelter supervisor for the Red Cross, said the facility at BUHS is for anyone who needs a place to warm up and enjoy a meal or a hot beverage.

"We're here as long as the need is here," she said. "We will be here until the state and the city tell us to go home. If you know anybody who's struggling and needs a warm place to be, Brattleboro High School is the place."

Savannah Casey, of Brattleboro, said she's been out of power since Tuesday morning.

She and her family have been coping well, but were thankful for the warm food offered by the Red Cross at the shelter.

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"We have a little woodstove and we had extra blankets and extra clothes on," said Casey. "We're OK, but I know there's people out there without heat."

Jack May of Guilford came to the shelter to do some work on his laptop as they have been without power since Tuesday as well.

"We were OK," he said. "There was a lot of snow and a lot of branches breaking and we were lucky that we were healthy and happy and had candles."

In Rockingham, Chroma Technology stepped forward late Tuesday afternoon and offered to set up an overnight shelter, as it had generators to run its business and a lot of Rockingham and Bellows Falls was without power.

Rick Holloway, facilities manager at Chroma, said Wednesday that only two people took advantage of the shelter and that was to charge their devices. He said he worked with Bellows Falls Fire Chief Shaun McGinnis to establish the shelter and staff it overnight.

Holloway said that several volunteers from Chroma staff and two Bellows Falls firefighters were on hand to help people.

He said that Chroma would be interested in serving an emergency role in the future, if necessary.

Rockingham Town Manager Scott Pickup said with the continued outages in Rockingham, the town is exploring setting up a shelter and charging station at the Rockingham Recreation Center, which is in Bellows Falls. He said town and village officials would make a decision later Wednesday afternoon about what path to take.

Wilmington Town Manager Scott Tucker said the town was in "pretty good" shape, considering about 3 to 4 feet of snow had fallen in places. He expects it will take a few days to clean up, especially sidewalks and parking areas. 

"The amount of snow is a condition that narrows roads being plowed," he said. 

In Halifax, the town's two trucks got stuck overnight and are being pulled out by a wrecker.

"They are behind what they hoped for clearing the roads," stated information from the Town Clerk. "Please continue to stay safe and be at home if possible and be understanding of the work the road crew is doing."

Brie Smith and Austin Morrow sit in a car on Route 63, in Hinsdale, N.H., while watching a crew from Eversource fix a powerline before a tree comes crashing down. Smith said the tree kept leaning over before it fell.

In Chesterfield, N.H., Route 63, which runs between that town and Hinsdale, was closed due to trees and powerlines down.

Brie Smith and Austin Morrow sit in a car on Route 63, in Hinsdale, N.H., while watching a crew from Eversource fix a power line before a tree comes crashing down. Smith said the tree kept leaning over before it fell.

“It was unreal. The whole lines shook and then you could hear other trees from the distant cracking,” said Smith. “Luckily someone from the crew reached out and said everyone was okay, just shaken up.”

She said it was scary at the time as the pole next to the vehicle they were in shook severely.

Susan Smallheer and Chris Mays contributed to this report.

Bob Audette can be contacted at