(NECN: Jack Thurston, Burlington, Vt.) - Snow was slow arriving to the northern part of the Champlain Valley. It didn't start in Burlington until mid-afternoon. That was good for many, because it gave people a chance to do some holiday errands.
"It's going to be a wild day tomorrow, I've got a feeling," said Gary Grzywna, who was shopping for Valentine's Day gifts Thursday.
Grzywna, a contractor who said he is going to be busy plowing Friday morning, told New England Cable News he wanted to pick up some sweets for his sweetie before the storm intensified. "This is a must," he chuckled. "If I don't do this, I might as well not even go home!"
He wasn't alone. At Amarah's Chocolate in Williston, owner David Emerson was scrambling to fill orders of dipped strawberries. He said easily half his customers who had planned to pick them up late Thursday or on Friday called to ask if they could get them early, so they could beat the snow. "Valentine's Day is the biggest [single] day [for our business]," Emerson explained. "Christmas is the biggest month."
Emerson was also remembering seven years ago, and that epic Valentine's Day blizzard that dumped upwards of three feet of crippling snow on much of Vermont. "People didn't get out to shop for at least four days, everyone was digging out," the business owner recalled.
He said he was very glad this latest winter blast won't be a repeat of 2007.
Bob Conlon, who owns Leunig's Bistro on downtown Burlington's Church Street Marketplace, agreed. He told NECN he lost a lot of business in 2007. This Valentine's Day, however, Conlon said he expects the snow will wrap up in time for his several hundred customers with reservations to enjoy a romantic dinner out. "It's a big night," Conlon said. "So you can't just say, 'Ugh, snow! I'm not going anywhere,' Get out and enjoy it."
This Burlington area, which was expecting 8-12" of snow, perhaps more, should see less snow than Southern Vermont, according to the National Weather Service. Much of the snow was expected to fall in the evening and overnight hours. Vermont Emergency Management announced state offices would delay their opening Friday morning until 9 a.m., because of the anticipated weather conditions and tricky travel.