Press-Republican

Local News

January 28, 2014

Whiteouts, snow squalls blind motorists

DANNEMORA — Seven vehicles piled up in a blinding whiteout on Route 374 on Monday morning. 

First there were four, then, as emergency responders called on the State Department of Transportation to close the road, three more.

“A very, very bad situation,” Lyon Mountain Volunteer Fire Department Chief Roger Gonyea said. “Zero visibility.”

One person with what appeared to be minor injuries was taken to CVPH Medical Center in Plattsburgh, Dannemora Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Nick Pain said, relieved no one was badly hurt.

The chain-reaction crash happened mid-morning along a stretch of Route 374 that runs by Chazy Lake in the Town of Dannemora, a spot prone to whiteout conditions as the wind tends to pick up snow from the frozen lake and blow it across the roadway.

The sun was shining as Pain and his crew headed for the multiple-vehicle crash, which happened near 2465 Route 374.

“We came ‘round that corner, right by the dam,” he said, “(and) you could barely see in front of you.

“The wind was whipping through there.”

MANY ACCIDENTS

Continual whiteouts Monday morning also had cars crawling along with their flashers blinking on Route 9B between Stetson Road and Route 9 in Champlain and then on Route 9 both north and south of the 9B intersection.

Along Lake Champlain, strong winds sent snow across roadways, slowing traffic as well.

Clinton County Dispatch was kept busy throughout the morning as numerous vehicle accidents were reported.

There were a few in Peru and at least one in West Chazy.

Traffic was diverted around a stretch of Route 11 in Champlain as emergency crews dealt with a crash there. The same happened on Cumberland Head Road in Plattsburgh after a car struck a tree.

Route 374 was closed between Plank Road and Chazy Lake Road as emergency crews dealt with the crisis, “to keep the area isolated until we could get the cars sorted out, get the patients (tended to),” Gonyea said.

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