MONTPELIER, Vt. – A fierce winter storm was blanketing northern New England and upstate New York with up to 30 inches of snow Monday, while western Connecticut was deluged with so much rain that parts of homes and cars floated down a swollen river.
As of 1 p.m., 23.3 inches of snow had fallen at Burlington International Airport — the biggest March snowfall there on record_ and it wasn’t finished yet.
At Aubuchon Hardware in downtown Montpelier, the most popular types of snow shovels were sold out, the grass seed was on display and store were readying shelves for more springtime wares.
“Smile, folks — it’s coming,” Tom Walbridge said of the spring season scheduled to start in just two weeks. Outside told a different story.
The storm helped push the winter of 2010-11 up the record list. Even before the snow stopped, it became the fourth-snowiest winter on record in Burlington, at 121.4 inches, and the storm appeared potent enough to challenge the famous Valentine’s Day blitz in 2007 that dumped 25.7 inches on Burlington, Taber said.
In northern Vermont, drifting and blowing snow caused whiteout conditions with near-zero visibility. A 10-to-12-mile section of Interstate 89 was closed for several hours Monday morning in the Richmond-Williston area.
At midday Sunday, the forecast for the area called for 10 to 20 inches, but the report worsened as the day progressed.
“We had almost a tropical air mass across southern New England that was trying to push north at the same time a polar air mass was trying to push south,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Bruce Taber. “It was that battleground that created this intense snowfall.”