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Thursday, February 29, 2024
Feb. 29, 2024

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Heavy snowfall drops tree branches onto power lines, causing outages in New England

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A storm dropped a mix of rain and snow on parts of New England with some locations recording more than a half-foot (15 centimeters) of snowfall on Monday, knocking out power for tens of thousands of people and causing slick roads that contributed to a fiery propane truck crash in Vermont.

Evacuations were ordered in two communities, including at a pair of schools, in Vermont after the propane tanker went off the Vermont Route 14 bridge over the Black River in Irasburg and caught fire, state police said.

Emergency workers created a 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) perimeter around the crash site in the event of an explosion, but drone video revealed a puncture in the 10,000-gallon (38-kiloliter) tank that reduced the possibility of a catastrophic blast. Instead, firefighters were letting the blaze burn itself out. A warming center was created for evacuees.

At the peak, more than 25,000 homes and businesses in Maine and more than 11,000 in Vermont were without electricity as trees and branches laden with heavy, wet snow fell on power lines, officials said. The temperatures were hovering close to freezing across much of northern New England on Monday.

The National Weather Service declared the first winter storm warning of the season for New Hampshire and western Maine. Northernmost Vermont was also under a winter storm warning on Monday. Far northern Maine, also under a warning, already saw heavy snow before Thanksgiving.

Some mountainous areas of western Maine and New Hampshire could see over a foot of snow. Vermont was expected to get closer to 8 inches (20 centimeters) of snow.

The snow made for a messy, slushy commute in many parts of the region. Many communities in northern New England had school delays and closures for the day.

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