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Tuesday night storm forecasts high winds, power outages across Vermont

Snow weighs down tree branches beneath a power line
April McCullum
Vermont Public File
Heavy snow weighs down tree branches in Essex beneath a power line after a winter storm in March 2023.

A winter storm featuring strong winds is heading for Vermont this week.

Pete Banacos with the National Weather Service in Burlington says the worst of the storm will hit in about a six-hour window late Tuesday night heading into Wednesday morning.

"The winds do look significant, especially along the western slopes of the Green Mountains. So anywhere from Rutland, up to Ripton, up towards Underhill, those communities would probably be the most impacted. But in general, across the whole area we're gonna see some pretty, pretty strong winds it looks like," Banacos said.

Banaco says those gusts could be as high as 60 to 70 miles per hour. He also expects 1 to 3 inches of wet, heavy snow as a warm front accompanies the storm.

The National Weather Service of Burlington predicts the snow will move into southern Vermont and spread northward starting Tuesday afternoon.

The precipitation is expected to turn to rain late Tuesday night.

In a press release, the state's largest utility, Green Mountain Power, says customers should keep flashlights at the ready. The utility says they've doubled their field crews and called in external help to deal with expected outages around Vermont.

Some generator guidelines

For those who do lose power, here's a little generator 101 from Jim Brochhausen, who owns Brook Field Service in Northfield. He says if you have an automatic standby generator, these are some things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure your fuel tanks are full. If you run out of fuel and need an emergency delivery, particularly if it comes on a Sunday, that can be very expensive. And if there are trees down, fuel trucks might not make it to your house.
  • It's a good idea to test your generator. On a nice day, just turn it on and make sure it's ready to go. If you have an issue, don't wait for the power outage to call your generator service company.
  • If the battery in your generator dies, do not try to jumpstart it like you would a car.
  • Have a professional service your generator at least once a year.

If you have a gasoline-powered portable generator, Brochhausen has these tips:

  • Safety first: make sure you never run the generator inside, even if it's in a garage with the door open. Carbon monoxide is very deadly. Instead, run it outside, 10 feet away from windows and doors, with the exhaust pointed away from the building.
  • It’s important that the house has a manual transfer switch so the generator doesn’t back feed to the power grid. Some folks try to take shortcuts, which can be dangerous, particularly for line workers who are working to get power back on in your neighborhood.
  • Do not use ethanol gasoline in portable generators. They're small engines, and they need to run on premium gas; ethanol will ruin the generator over time. Plan ahead to address your fuel needs during a power outage.

With any kind of generator, try to be conservative with your electricity use when it’s on.

Other resources

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message.

Corrected: January 9, 2024 at 12:04 PM EST
The post was updated to remove a reference to preparing with candles.
A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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