Residents urged to plan ahead, stay home

 HOLLY PELCZYNSKI - BENNINGTON BANNER Bennington Police Chief Paul Doucette looks over the weather forcast in Bennington as he prepares for the upcoming storm to hit the county on.

Posted

BENNINGTON — As the region braces for a potentially serious snowstorm this weekend, Bennington Police Chief and Public Safety Director Paul Doucette is reminding residents to plan ahead, stay home, and stay safe.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for Bennington and surrounding areas for heavy snow potentially accumulating “in excess of 9 inches” from 4 p.m. Saturday to 7 p.m. Sunday. Some models, Doucette said, are warning that over two feet of snow could fall in parts of Bennington County.

“We have not had a significant snowstorm like this in several years,” Doucette said.

Key town staff including the Fire Department, Rescue Squad, Department of Public Works, and Town Manager Stuart Hurd met Thursday afternoon to discuss a town-wide plan for the impending storm. The town may enact an all-out parking ban if there is enough snow, Doucette said. If a parking ban is made, it will be announced on the town Facebook page, on the Bennington Police Department Facebook page, and through local media outlets.

Doucette encouraged residents to “shop [for groceries] Friday and first-thing Saturday,” stock up on necessary supplies, and stay home and off the roads. His department will be encouraging local businesses and organizations to close during the storm and not make employees drive in the snow.

As of Thursday evening, the Weather Channel was predicting snow accumulations in Bennington of “a foot or more” Saturday night and another “3 to 5 inches” Sunday morning.

Meteorologists predict the quickly-falling snow will be light and fluffy, which can cause slippery road conditions. Additionally, high wind gusts around 30 mph Sunday afternoon may cause power loss, downed wires, reduced visibility, and snow drifts across the area.

Bennington’s Department of Public Works will be hard at work this weekend to ensure the safety of the town and drivers.

“Those guys work very hard, but they can’t work 24/7,” Doucette said. “They’ll try to time it out so they get rest, but if there is an emergency they will respond immediately.”

Christie Wisniewski can be reached at cwisniewski@benningtonbanner.com and at 802-447-7567, ext. 111.