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It’s not the first time a blizzard and town meeting day have coincided 

  • State Department of Transportation highway maintenance worker Scott Jolicoeur cleans the mirrors on his snowplow Monday in preparation of Tuesday’s snowstorm off Hackett Hill Road in Hooksett. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A blizzard in March is not unheard of. And apparently, neither is a blizzard around town meeting day.

New Hampshire state and town officials are busy preparing for what could be one of the biggest storms of the year, which is coinciding with the day voters across the state head to the polls. Over the years, New Hampshire has been hit with multiple snowstorms on or around town meeting day, according to National Weather Service data.

In 1993, a winter storm dumped 17 inches of snow on the Concord area on March 13 and 14. In 1984, Concord got 15 inches of snow on March 14. Both storms came shortly after town meeting day.

And during the great blizzard of 1888, the capital city was slammed with a record 26.5 inches of snow on March 12 and 13, just as the state’s residents were planning to hold their annual town meetings.

According to an account by Derry town historian Rick Holmes published in the Derry News in 2015, most of the state’s towns postponed their meetings.

That “was a crippling blizzard that was pretty much unforecasted,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Ekster. But it was no surprise that no one saw it coming, as radar didn’t exist, he added.

Ekster said that March snowstorms are not unheard of in New Hampshire.

“It’s still a winter month up here,” he said. However, the traditionally cold Northeast has not been immune to the unseasonably warm weather sweeping across parts of the United States.

People here were treated to an early summer in February, with temperatures that got up to 73 degrees in some parts of the states.

“It’s been a little tricky, because for the last two years, March has been a pretty warm month,” Ekster said.

But it’s also a long month, he added.

Tuesday’s nor’easter is projected to dump up to 18 inches of snow across New Hampshire, with the storm expected to strengthen to “near blizzard conditions” in the afternoon and night, according to the National Weather Service. Winds could gust up to 35 mph.

New Hampshire officials are warning people to stay off the roads, especially in the later part of the day. Town officials who are continuing to hold annual voting are encouraging people to get to the polls as early as possible.

A blizzard in March is not unheard of. And apparently, neither is a blizzard around town meeting day.

New Hampshire state and town officials are busy preparing for what could be one of the biggest storms of the year, which is coinciding with the day voters across the state head to the polls. Over the years, New Hampshire has been hit with multiple snowstorms on or around town meeting day over the years, according to National Weather Service data.

In 1993, a winter storm dumped 17 inches of snow on the Concord area on March 13 and 14. In 1984, Concord got 15 inches of snow on March 14. Both storms came shortly after town meeting day.

And during the great blizzard of 1888, the capital city was slammed with a record 26.5 inches of snow on March 12 and 13, just as the state’s residents were planning to hold their annual town meetings. According to an account by Derry town historian Rick Holmes published in the Derry News in 2015, most of the state’s towns postponed their meetings.

That “was a crippling blizzard that was pretty much unforecasted,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Ekster. But it was no surprise that no one saw it coming, as radar didn’t exist, he added.

Ekster said that March snowstorms are not unheard of in New Hampshire.

“It’s still a winter month up here,” he said. However, the traditionally cold Northeast has not been immune to the unseasonably warm weather sweeping across parts of the United States.

People here were treated to an early summer in February, with temperatures that got up to 73 degrees in some parts of the state.

“It’s been a little tricky, because for the last two years, March has been a pretty warm month,” Ekster said.

But it’s also a long month, he added.

Tuesday’s nor’easter is projected to dump up to 18 inches of snow across New Hampshire, with the storm expected to strengthen to “near blizzard conditions” in the afternoon and night, according to the National Weather Service. Winds could gust up to 35 mph.

New Hampshire officials are warning people to stay off the roads, especially in the later part of the day. Town officials who are continuing to hold annual voting are encouraging people to get to the polls as early as possible.

Top five record March snowfall:

26.5 inches – March 12-13, 1888

18.1 inches – March 6, 2001

17 inches – March 13-14, 1993

15 inches – March 14, 1984

14.5 inches – March 8, 1916

(Ella Nilsen can be reached at 369-3322, enilsen@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @ella_nilsen.)