Mammoth nor'easter bears down on Northern Seacoast

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(Map courtesy Accuweather

A monster nor'easter threatens to shut down travel in the Northern Seacoast not to mention inflict a significant miserly level on Milton voters scheduled to decide town elections and ballot questions on Tuesday.

As noon Milton officials were still trying to find out if they can postpone the vote. Other towns, such as Candia, have done just that, however that has been in definance of the Secretary of State.

A conference call between Governor Sununu and officials from various towns across the state is scheduled for later today.

The storm will begin Tuesday around noon and has already prompted Rochester to issue a parking ban on all city streets including the downtown and municipal parking lots to run from noon on Tuesday through Wednesday at 8 a.m.

The storm headed this way comes from the Midwest where it has already dumped several inches of snow in Chicago.

The system will transform overnight and skirt the East Coast about hundred miles out to sea, wreaking havoc in Middle Atlantic and New England cities, including Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Portland.

For many areas in the Northeast, including the Northern Seacoast, this will likely be the biggest and most impactful storm of the winter.

Rochester Dept. of Public Works Director John Storer said all personnel and every available piece of equipment will be ready to plow and treat the roads to keep motorists safe.

He said the city recently purchased an additional 1,000 tons of road salt to ensure they have enough for Tuesday's storm as well as any other storms later this month and into April.

"We were down to just 500 tons, so this will make sure we have enough for the rest of this winter and carry some over into next," Storer said.

While precip near the coast may switch to rain, Rochester, Milton and Lebanon can expect all snow for accumulations of 12-18 inches.

Blizzard conditions including high sustained winds and low visibility can be expected, prompting Central Maine Power and Eversource crews to prepare for any power outages.

The strongest winds will be at the coast where CMP spokesman Gail Rice said heavy, wet snow could also weight down limbs and power lines.

"We'll have emergency response systems in place," promised Rice, who added the utility is already making outreach with contractors in surrounding states and Canada to assist with any power restoration efforts that become necessary.

Rice said forecasters right now are predicting a dry snow inland, which could mean less buildup on tree limbs and power lines here.

The highest gusts - over 60 mph - will be at the coast, forecasters say.

The heaviest snow is likely to fall near the I-81 corridor of Pennsylvania and along part of the New York Thruway in the Hudson Valley of New York, I-91 in northern Connecticut and Massachusetts and I-93 in New Hampshire. In this zone, from 1 to 2 feet of snow can pile up with drifts up to several feet.

This amount of snow over such a broad, heavily populated area could bring travel to a standstill as snow clogs streets and highways and heavy snow and wind trigger airline delays and flight cancellations. Some flights have already been canceled in advance of the storm.

For thousands of miles of roads in the region, this will be an unusually cold storm for the middle of March. Much of the snow that falls will accumulate on the roads.

Exactly where the storm tracks will determine the western extent of the heaviest snow zone, as well as where rain will fall along the coast and cut down on snowfall accumulation.

As the storm intensifies, winds will ramp up along the coast and expand inland.

For those that lose power, cold air more typical of the middle of January will settle in behind the storm. For those that must walk to their destination, full midwinter attire will be needed in the days following the storm.

AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures will hover in the teens and single digits and may dip below zero at times.

Blowing and drifting snow can become a significant problem, not only during the middle of the storm on Tuesday, but perhaps for a couple of days in the storm's wake.

(Accuweather reports contributed to this article)

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