Snow began falling heavily at times in southern New Hampshire Tuesday afternoon, leading to a slow homebound rush hour.
Traffic moved slowly on all major arteries in the state during an afternoon commute that began earlier than usual as people who apparently left work to try to get ahead of the storm found themselves in the thick of it.
Commuters on the F. E. Everett Turnpike had the worst of it. A rollover accident backed up traffic in the northbound lanes south of the Bedford tolls. The accident added to the already-backed-up traffic in both northbound lanes.
The snow began to fall by noon Tuesday and dropped "a quick 3 to 6 inches" over southeastern New Hampshire, said National Weather Service Meteorologist John Cannon.
Manchester and Portsmouth declared a snow emergencies Tuesday night, and Manchester government meetings and evening school activities were canceled.
The storm followed a morning in which temperatures were below zero in much of the state and stayed below 20 degrees. Wednesday and Thursday, though, should have sunny skies with temperatures climbing into the 30s and low 40s, according to weather service forecasts.
"The forecast for the rest of the week is pretty good news," Cannon said.
In Manchester, the snow emergency means no parking on city streets from 10 p.m.Tuesday until 6 a.m.on Wednesday.
Anticipating slick roads, the city school district postponed all after-school events scheduled for Tuesday, including the much-anticipated boys' basketball season-opener between Manchester Central High School and host Trinity High. No make-up date has been announced for the game. Government meetings in the Queen City were also canceled
In Portsmouth, a parking ban was effective at 9 p.m. Tuesday with the exception of the downtown geographical area where the parking ban was to begin at 1 a.m. Wednesday. The downtown geographical area is bounded by Deer Street on the north; Market, Bow and Marcy Streets on the east; Court Street on the South; and Middle, Maplewood and Bridge Streets on the West.
The storm comes less than 72 hours after the first significant snowfall of the season. The double-barreled winter punch was a welcome pre-Christmas boost to the ski industry.
"We're definitely very happy,"said Karl Stone, marketing director for Ski New Hampshire. "At this point, getting natural snowfalls is really exciting."
Travelers can check out road conditions via 511NH.com.