Suddenly, it was winter.

A few days after temperatures plummeted, Vermont saw its first real snowfall of the year Monday night and Tuesday morning.

In Plainfield, Nick Rapczynski skied to work at Positive Pie.

“I think it’s about 3, maybe 3½ miles,” he said. “I did the rail trail from Naismith Brook Road to the Plainfield park-and-ride. There were a couple impassible areas where I had to take my skis off, but other than that, it was pretty nice.”

Rapczynski said he grew up cross-country skiing, but that this was the first time he used his skis to get to work.

“It was awesome,” he said. “I think I’m going to do it for fun all the time.”

Meteorologist Roger Hill said accumulations went as high as 8 inches in the northern end of the Champlain Valley, dropping off to the east and south.

“This has been a big push of much colder than normal air coming out of the Arctic,” he said. “It had been farther west for some weeks, producing a lot of snow in the Rockies.”

Hill said the next few nights had the potential for record lows, conditions he counter-intuitively linked to global warming.

“Basically, it displaces the cold air where it should be in the Arctic,” he said. “It goes places it doesn’t normally go.”

In this case, it wound up in Vermont earlier than the Green Mountain State is used to weather being quite this cold.

Zach Blodgett, operations manager for the Montpelier Department of Public Works, said his crews were on their way back in at around 3 p.m.

“Right now, (the roads are) getting better — the sun’s coming out, and it’s stopped snowing,” he said. “As for this morning, it was a little bit slick. The snow shifted from regular snow. It developed a little bit of ice, a little bit of crust on the top.”

The snowfall’s arrival came earlier than some people were ready to heat their homes.

“The cold snap has started folks coming to us with their heating needs abruptly,” Tom Donahue, executive director of BROC-Community Action, said. “State crisis fuel funds are not available yet. ... They come from the federal government, and they were held up at the federal level.”

Thankfully, Donahue said, Green Mountain Power had sent over a $30,000 check Tuesday afternoon.

The storm made for some difficult roads Tuesday morning.

“The first storm of the season is always an adventure and this one was timed about as poorly as you can get,” Rutland Public Works Commissioner Jeffrey Wennberg said.

Wennberg said it takes four hours to plow the city, and the department’s 6 a.m. start meant a lot of roads were still in rough shape when the morning rush hour kicked into high gear.

“It was a slow response,” he said. “We apologize for that, but it was unavoidable. ... at 5 o’clock, it was raining, not snowing, and there was nothing on the streets besides water.

Numerous schools closed in the region. Rutland City Superintendent David Wolk said it was the earliest in the year he could ever remember calling a snow day.

“I consulted with the other superintendents because many of them send students to Stafford (Technical Center),” he said. “We were on a group email comparing road conditions. I’m always going to err on the side of caution.”

gordon.dritschilo @rutlandherald.com

(1) comment

Annie D. Stratton

Great opening. Perfect tone. thanks: I think the laughing loosened up my shoulders.

Also: appreciate the detail about plowing. I understand better what the plow guys and gals are doing and the time constraints. You know, I'm not sure I've ever read an article that included that simple explanation before. Or maybe it's me tending to read eveything late and missing the details.

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