Storm creates icy mess in area

Wednesday’s storm brought less snow than predicted, but it did offer another brand of inclement weather: ice.

Ice coated much of Fulton, Montgomery and southern Hamilton counties this morning after the storm dropped several inches of freezing rain and sleet along with about 3 inches of snow Wednesday and early this morning.

The sounds of scrapers on windshields and shovels on icy driveways filled the air this morning as people got their vehicles ready this morning.

Many local schools started two hours late this morning because of the conditions.

Local police agencies reported numerous minor accidents as a result of the weather.

National Weather Service meteorologist Luigi Meccariello said forecasters had expected between 10 and 14 inches of snow in the area, but a shift in the pressure system resulted in less snowfall.

“It was pretty much a sharp cut- off,” Meccariello said.

Some parts of the region, however, did receive significant snowfall. Meccariello said the town of Inlet in Hamilton County, for example, received 15 inches of snow.

Meanwhile, bitter cold has returned to upstate New York. The National Weather Service said high winds and temperatures in the teens and single digits would drive the wind chill below zero today.

Temperatures in local counties today were not expected to rise above the teens, Meccariello said.

Gloversville Department of Public Works Director Kevin Jones said road crews were finishing work this morning. They were plowing and salting the roads around the city since 11 p.m. Wednesday.

Sgt. Christopher Stevens of the Johnstown City Police Department said three motor-vehicle accidents occurred Wednesday night and this morning in the city. He said no injuries were reported.

Fulton County Undersheriff Kevin Lenahan said 21 motor-vehicle accidents occurred during the storm and a dozen motorists had to be pulled out of ditches.

Montgomery County Undersheriff Pete Vroman reported roughly a dozen weather-related car accidents, but no injuries were reported. However, Vroman said Glen required assistance from National Grid for a power line in the town on a tree.

Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville Central School Acting Superintendent Tom Gallagher said his district, like many others in the area, was delayed because snow and ice were still on the roads around 6 a.m.

“I felt that was the major concern,” Gallagher said.

He said the wind had blown snow back onto the roads, and with a later sunrise, Gallagher was concerned about slippery conditions.

In the Gloversville Enlarged School District, the middle and high schools started two hours late today. The Gloversville elementary schools closed because they already had been scheduled for a half-day today.

Elsewhere

in New York state

The weather service says the storm dumped up to 17 inches of snow on parts of western New York.

Blowing snow caused numerous accidents on the Thruway, with sections of the highway between Syracuse and Buffalo closed for several hours. The New York State Thruway temporarily banned tandem tractor-trailers from the Albany area to the Pennsylvania border south of Buffalo amid slick roads and 20- to 30 mph winds that gusted to 45 mph.

Hundreds of schools, colleges and government offices were shut down in upstate New York, and travel advisories were in effect across several western counties.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for much of upstate, authorizing the use of state equipment where needed.

Outside

of New York state

The storm, which swept through the Midwest and the Northeast, caused pileups on the Ohio Turnpike involving at least 50 vehicles, leaving three people dead and a state trooper seriously injured.

Snowy conditions along the busy toll road Wednesday had emergency workers struggling to reach accidents stretched across a 2-mile section in the eastbound lanes between Toledo and Cleveland. Another series of pileups about 10 miles to the east shut down the turnpike’s westbound lanes near Sandusky.

Between 6 to 8 inches of snow fell on Cleveland and northeast Ohio.

Mike Ramella, a salesman from the Cleveland suburb of Westlake, was among the drivers mired in a 7-mile backup.

“I’m surrounded” by snow and cars, he told his wife on the phone. He said he was trying to get home to her and their three children, including a newborn, after a business trip to Michigan but was unable to make it to the next exit.

A trooper responding to an accident was pinned between vehicles, said the Ohio State Highway Patrol, which confirmed the deaths of the three other people but didn’t immediately have further details.

Highway Patrolman Andrew Clouser, 29, was in serious but stable condition at a Toledo hospital Wednesday night, said Ohio patrol Staff Lt. Anne Ralston.

Tens of thousands of homes and businesses in northern Illinois and Indiana lost power, and a few hundred flights were canceled at Chicago’s airports. The city, where streets and sidewalks had only just dried out for the first time in months, got about 6 inches of snow.

Stephen Rodriguez, National Weather Service meteorologist in Romeoville, Ill., said winds causing heavy, wet snow to blow and drift likely would create a frustrating morning commute today.

As much as 9.3 inches of snow fell on southern Michigan Wednesday, causing spin-outs and slide-off crashes. The totals were expected to bring Michigan close to breaking a 133-year-old record.

In downtown South Bend, Indiana, where already more than 100 inches of snow has fallen this winter – nearly 3 feet above normal – there was another 4 inches on the ground.

“I’m tired of the snow. Yesterday we had a real nice day and today it’s back to winter and cold and terrible,” said Debi Ciesielski.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.