As storm bears down, plowboys take it to the streets while the kids have some fun

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A group of ice skaters take to Milton Three Ponds for some fun today as the snow begins to fall. (Lebanon Voice photo)

The last major storm of the year is barreling east toward the Northern Seacoast promising to pound the area with heavy, wet snow and blustery winds till daybreak on Friday.

After a few wayward flurries this morning around 9 a.m. that sputtered and ended with an hour, the snow began in earnest around noon and isn't supposed to let up the rest of the day.

The winds and moisture-laden snow could combine this afternoon to threaten power outages, with 22- to 26-mph winds predicted and gusts over 30 mph.

Some reports have predicted gusts up to 50 mph.

As of 1 p.m. the National Weather Service had issued a winter storm warning for the Northern Seacoast until 5 a.m. with a wind advisory beginning at midnight and lasting till 8 a.m.

Meanwhile, temperatures around noon remained in the mid-20s in Milton and Lebanon, a few degrees colder than Rochester.

Road crews are expected to be out in force ahead of the storm surge this afternoon.

"We'll be out about 1 p.m.," said Lebanon Road Commissioner Tom Torno, who added it's important to get a blade on the snow before it gets too packed down.

He said plows will spread sand then shift to plowing after an inch and a half or so gets on the pavement.

He said the wind could prove problematic with drifting on roads that are prone to such, especially in hilly sections of West Lebanon.

In all 14 plow operators will be busy clearing Lebanon roads today, all with specifically assigned routes.

In Rochester, Director of City Services John Storer said road crews were out this morning salting the streets.

"Now we're waiting to see how much we get, we want to stay ahead of it," he said.

Storer said it looks like the snow will switch over to rain at some point, and when it does they'll be making sure all the drainage systems in the city are working properly and not clogged.

While areas of northern New England will see blizzard conditions, it's not clear whether the Northern Seacoast will suffer the same fate.

Coastal areas are expected to get a lot of rain, with the rain map spreading slowly back northwestward.

Another key to the misery factor will be whether the snow comes down light and fluffy or heavy and wet, with the slushier mix expected south toward the coast and fluffier stuff headed north to the mountains.

As usual the Northern Seacoast is right on the line.

Central and northern New Hampshire as well as northwestern Maine can expect to see blizzard conditions tonight and 12-18 inches of snow on the ground when they wake up.

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