As Coastal Storm Blasts New England, Vermont Escapes Brunt of Damage

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Many New England states declared a state of emergency this weekend following the major coastal storm that dumped more than two feet of snow in parts of the region, including southern Vermont. Road crews and state officials saw it as just another winter day.

The fluffy snow falling in Burlington started to slow, and snowed-in residents looked out their windows Saturday morning to see how much had piled up – on the trees and on ribbons of sidewalk snaking downtown.

On Church Street, snowplow drivers cleared the way for Justine Okuada to walk to work on time.

Okuada is a residential care worker who’s been living in Vermont for two years. Her eyes watered as she braced against the blustery weather.

"I try to cover myself very warmly with my jacket," Okuada said as she walked up Church Street. "I’m not used to it. It’s very cold."

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Unlike neighboring states, Vermont didn’t declare a state of emergency and Green Mountain Power reported no power outages. Mail service across northern New England was suspended due to the snow. And transportation officials reminded drivers to slow down, be safe and drive like it is winter.

The ferry crossing between New York and Vermont was closed Saturday due to strong wind.

On the coast, in Maine and Massachusetts, officials cautioned residents to stay off the roads. Portland set an all-time snowfall record and blowing snow continued to reduce visibility throughout the morning.

The National Weather Service said snowfall topped 29 inches at the Portland International Jetport. That breaks the old storm record of 27.1 inches from 1979.

Of all the New England states, Massachusetts, where more than 400,000 utility customers were without power early in the afternoon, has been hardest hit.

Gov. Peter Shumlin has called Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to offer utility crews to help dig out and restore power.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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