Snow Forces Cancellations, Closures Across Vt.

(NECN: Jack Thurston, Burlington, Vt.) - A powerful winter storm walloped Vermont Wednesday, creating messy roads and an uncomfortable day for many. Predicted snowfall totals ranged from 12-24 inches across much of central and northern Vermont. The snowfall was blamed for crashes and slide-offs on roadways, as well as many event and school cancellations and early closing times for businesses. The storm was expected to stretch well into Thursday.

Public safety officials urged Vermonters to stay off the roads and avoid unnecessary travel Wednesday evening. Normally-busy downtown Burlington was quiet. The city announced a parking ban to aid in street cleanup efforts. The Church Street Marketplace worked to clear paths for pedestrians.

Grace Ward, who told New England Cable News she was in Vermont from Alabama to visit her sister, a University of Vermont student, was disappointed that the Ben & Jerry's scoop shop on the Church Street Marketplace closed early because of the storm. However, she said she has no regrets about visiting New England. "I love it," Ward said of the snow. "It's part of the experience."

At the Burlington International Airport, Jonathan Spencer was trying to get from a business trip in Vermont to Mexico, via his hometown, Toronto. "My mind is on the beach," he said. "And maybe a margarita or two."

But instead, there was an ocean of red on BTV's cancellation board: no flights in or out. "This is an unusual picture," Doug Wood of the Burlington International Airport's operations department said of all the cancellations displayed late Wednesday afternoon. "It rarely happens that it's because of our weather. But this one is because of our weather and the low visibility we're getting today with this mammoth storm that we have."

Wood said travelers with flights Thursday morning should check with their airline before arriving at the airport, because early-morning flights were also canceled.

The blowing snow could total a foot or two across much of Vermont before it's over. Skier Michael Doordan told NECN he was pumped for a trip to the Stowe Mountain Resort. "Hopefully, this will be the best day all season," Doordan beamed.

Between snow drifts and lower temperatures, Thursday is likely to be a difficult day of cleaning up for many. The storm is expected to wind down by Thursday evening.

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