MANCHESTER, NH – Freezing rain and light snow created hazardous and chaotic driving conditions across the city and much of New Hampshire Monday night.
Manchester Police say that icy driving conditions contributed to 89 reported car crashes between 8 p.m. and 3 a.m., and Manchester School District has called for a two-hour school delay for Tuesday.
A Winter Weather Advisory issued by the National Weather Service Monday afternoon remains in effect through noon on Jan. 23, as more freezing rain and sleet were expected overnight and into Tuesday, with temperatures hovering below freezing. Much warmer temperatures were forecast for Tuesday, with a high of about 50 degrees.
But the wintry mix of rain, sleet and snow wrecked havoc on roadways Monday. Precipitation began around 3 p.m., steadily increasing as temperatures dropped and ice coated primary and secondary roadways.
By early Monday evening accident reports escalated and calls for service from police, fire and rescue quickly became unmanageable. Without enough emergency vehicles to respond to accidents and “normal” calls for medical emergencies, calls went out to surrounding towns for additional aid.
As conditions on roadways quickly deteriorated, several emergency vehicles were also caught up in the icy conditions and unable to navigate icy and hilly terrain. Multiple reports were issued over emergency radio of first-response vehicles delayed for calls, and there one report of a city fire truck being struck by a vehicle.
In between there were multiple accidents involving cars slip-sliding into poles and off the road. A vehicle slid into a pole before striking a house at Cottage Road and Bowe Street. No injuries were reported in that accident.