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Jan 27, 2015 9:44 AM

Blizzard of 2015: Gov. Hassan says stay off roads, avoid false sense of security


Gov. Maggie Hassan and top state officials urged motorists to remain off the road as high winds hampered visibility especially in the southeastern part of the state.

Hassan urged private business owners to "reevaluate their position'' if they are requiring employees to come in to work.

And she said "this storm is unpredictable'' and will keep evaluating with local officials before making a recommendation for the opening of public schools and state government operations.

State Police Director Robert Quinn reported that 13 cars had gotten off the road as a result of their owners driving too fast for the conditions.

And Transportation Director of Operations William Janelle said the light snow makes plowing easier but in some places it's falling faster than the blizzard fighting vehicles can manage.

Those are the major developments from Governor Hassan and top officials who hosted a briefing at the Emergency Operations Center.

Hassan went from the Concord emergency center to visit state highway patrol sheds in Bow and Hooksett.

The governor stressed that private residents should question their own intent to go outside and drive.

"You really shouldn't do it unless you are essential to storm response,'' Hassan said. ``If you do go out on the roads today, please be prepared to be stranded or perhaps go out of the road and have to wait a while.''

Hassan tried to dissuade any residents who may think that with the lightness of the snow that the danger is not as severe.

"It is not just the snow here; it is the wind and the cold that is adding to the danger,'' Hassan said.

"Don't be lulled into a false sense of security.''

But Hassan defended the state's decision not to impose a travel ban which governors placed on residents in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

"We exhibit and practice common sense and I think it is really important to make this an optional choice for people, some who have to respond to care for loved ones,'' Hassan said.

As for a travel ban Hassan said, "It is its own distraction and own drain on resources.''

DOT's Janelle said residents staying off the road are helping the plow crews.

"The challenge is the intensity of this storm it is coming down much quicker than we can remove it,'' Janelle said.

State Police's Quinn said the small spike in stranded cars came in some areas where the heavy bands of snow briefly subsided.

"We have had no injuries but in the past hour we have had 13 vehicles going off the road,'' Quinn said.

"They are clearly driving too fast for the conditions that are presenting.''

While not out of the woods, Hassan played the role of the state's biggest cheerleader noting the time will come to urge tourists from across New England to flock to New Hampshire ski areas.

"I hope everyone up in New England will travel safely but when the time comes and the roads have all cleared, come enjoy our mountains,'' Hassan said.

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