Press-Republican

December 29, 2012

Roads cleared, skiers happy

By FELICIA KRIEG
Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — Total accumulation for Thursday’s storm amounted to about a third of last winter’s entire snowfall.

“It wasn’t any record-breaking snow event,” said Brooke Taber, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Burlington. “It was just a typical nor’easter.”

The storm, which roared in early Thursday, dropped between 12 and 18 inches around the region, as expected, he said.

Total snowfall for 2011-12 was just 37.4 inches.

“We were much below normal,” Taber said. 

An average winter yields 80 inches in lower elevations and 100 inches in the higher elevations of the Adirondacks, he said.

Totals around the North Country from 2012’s first big storm included 13 inches in Malone, 17 in Lake Placid, 12 to 16 in Plattsburgh and 18 in Champlain, according to the National Weather Service.

FEW COMPLAINTS

The storm kept highway departments busy.

“We were out until midnight (Thursday) night,” Town of Clinton Highway Superintendent Steven Matthews said.

His crews starting plowing at about 4 a.m. Thursday, while in Peru, the trucks headed out just after 3 a.m., said Town of Peru Highway Superintendent Michael Farrell.

A crew of 10 used eight snowplow trucks to clear Peru roads, he said.

Visibility was poor in the beginning, Farrell said.

“When we started, it was almost zero.”

All 10 men worked overtime, which is typical for a large storm like this one, he said.

They went home between 6 and 7 p.m. Thursday.

But overall, things seemed to go smoothly, Farrell said.

“It was safe. Very few complaints. So, all in all, we’re happy.”

TRAIN GRAZED TRUCK

Essex County Emergency Services Director Donald Jaquish said the storm didn’t cause any major problems there.

“There were minor incidents, the usual number of accidents.”

He said there was a near miss in Essex’s Whallonsburg hamlet just after 2 p.m. Thursday during the storm, when a pickup truck crossing train tracks on Route 22 was grazed by a Canadian Pacific freight train.

State Police reported Livingston Bailey, 54, of Essex was the driver of the pickup, while Ryan Waite, 38, of Crown Point was the train engineer.

There were no injuries or damage to the train, officials said, and the truck had some front-end damage. 

Lewis-based State Police were investigating.

MORE SNOW COMING

Friday, Peru crews cleared town sidewalks.

“... we pushed all the banks back so we have room” for further snow accumulation, Farrell said.

Another, much smaller storm was forecast for today, Taber said.

Two to 4 inches are expected by Sunday morning, with a couple more inches possible in higher elevations, he said.

“This will be a skier’s delight with the big fluffy (snow),” the meteorologist said.

Jon Lundin, spokesperson for Whiteface Mountain and the Olympic Regional Development Authority, agreed.

Traditionally, the holiday week between Christmas and New Year’s is one of the ski industry’s busiest, he said.

“It couldn’t come at a better time for us,” Lundin said. “It’s been a long time coming for a big snow dump.”

‘PERFECT TOPPING’

He said 24 inches fell on Whiteface over the course of the storm.

Mount Van Hoevenberg, Whiteface’s cross-country-skiing facility, took on 22 inches of packed powder.

“The snow is really as good as it can get,” condition-wise, Lundin said, and it provides a perfect topping for the man-made base of snow that was already in place before the storm.

More than 2,500 skiers were on the slopes Thursday at the height of the storm, he said.

“Those people took in a great powder.”

Skiers will travel from the New York City area and New Jersey to take advantage of the new snowfall, Ludin said.

“They’re going to come here to enjoy everything this area has to offer.”

Email Felicia Krieg: fkrieg@pressrepublican.com