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Nor’easter closes Cortland County

Bob Ellis/staff photographer

This mornings snowfall didn't deter Dog Bentley from his daily walk with his two small dogs, Minnie and Rosie along the Cortland Waterworks.

BREAKING NEWS:
Cortland County Sheriff Mark Helms issued a travel advisory for Cortland County until 8 a.m. Wednesday due to hazardous driving conditions. Sheriffs in Tompkins, Chenango and Cayuga counties did the same.

The ban, because of the snow storm, applies to all county, town, city and state roads in the county and only emergency and essential personnel will be permitted on the roads.

Capt. Rob Derksen said anyone caught out on the roads could receive a ticket. However, if people need to travel, Derksen said take it slow, clean off the car, make sure the car is fueled and keep your cell phone charged and on you.

Elsewhere across the region:
* Chenango County Board of Supervisors Chairman Lawrence Wilcox declared a state of emergency because of the winter storm and replaced a travel advisory with a travel ban from 2 p.m. today until 6 a.m. Wednesday.

* Madison County declared a state of emergency. All county roads will be closed to all but emergency traffic between 6 p.m. today and 6 a.m. Wednesday.

* In Tompkins County, residents were urged this morning to avoid all non-essential travel. People who need to travel for work, do so safely and try to be off the roads by noon, when the snow is expected to be at its heaviest.

* The Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office issued a no unnecessary travel advisory for all of Cayuga County. Hazardous conditions exist, but the decision to drive is left to the discretion of the traveler.

* Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a full travel ban on Interstate 84 from the Pennsylvania border to the Connecticut border went into effect at 1 p.m. Cuomo also announced a tractor-trailer ban went into effect on Interstate 87 between Albany and the Canadian border effective at 1 p.m. Tractor-trailer bans issued earlier today remain in effect on interstates 81, 84, 86, 88, 90 and Route 17.

CORTLAND — Cortland County is closed. All non-essential county offices are closed. Even the Cortland County Court House is closed.

It may not be like the blizzard of 1993, but people still woke this morning to a couple of inches of snow on the ground and more falling like rain. Expect 18 to 24 inches by Wednesday evening. Not quite the 38 inches of mid-March 1993, but bad enough.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the state. All travel was banned in Broome County. Tractor-trailers have been ordered off the interstates, including Interstate 81.

If you must travel, Helms said, take the extra time to clean off your vehicle completely so that visibility from the vehicle is as good as it possibly can be.
Businesses and school districts began announcing closures Tuesday night, and kids — and many of their parents — woke this morning to a blanket of white and no reasons to crawl out of bed.

Other closings:
– All of Cortland Regional Medical Center’s outpatient clinics are closed today, including the cardiology clinic — diagnostics remains open — gastroenterology, family medicine, internal medicine, orthopedics, opthalmology, hematology/oncology, outpatient rehab and wound care.
– SUNY Cortland and Tompkins Cortland Community College.

Still, Doug Bentley of Cortland was walking through the storm this morning with his two dogs, Minnie and Rosie, in front of the Cortland Waterworks on Broadway.
Walking his dogs is something Bentley does every morning, he said. This morning was no different.

“They like to get out,” Bentley said. And hopping over drifting snow is just that much more exercise.

Plow crews will be out on the roads for the next 12 hours battling the snow fall, city Public Works Superintendent Chris Bistocchi said. “If traveling is not necessary, please stay home.”

Bistocchi also said Bert Adams Disposal has postponed the city’s Tuesday trash pickup for a day, which will delay other pickups, too.

Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit will run all routes as normal, but expect delays, TCAT announced. Dress warmly for the time at the bus stop TCAT will provide updates as information becomes available at www.tcatbus.com.

Chenango County Board of Supervisors Chairman Lawrence Wilcox issued a travel advisory as well for Chenango County in effect until 6 a.m. Wednesday. The Chenango County Office Building closed today and all non-essential personnel should not report to work.

The nor’easter grounded more than 5,000 flights, closed schools in cities big and small and prompted dire warnings to stay off the roads. Nearly 100,000 customers from Virginia to New York, Pennsylvania lost power. Blizzard warnings were issued for parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.

“The winters seem to be upside down now. January and February are nice and then March and April seem to be more wintry than they were in the past,” said Bob Clifford, who ventured out on an early morning grocery run for his family in Altamont, near Albany, where 5 inches of snow had fallen by daybreak.

The National Weather Service’s office near Philadelphia called the storm “life-threatening” and warned people to “shelter in place.” Coastal flood warnings were in effect from Massachusetts to Delaware.

In the nation’s capital, the federal government announced a three-hour delayed arrival for non-emergency employees, with an option to take the day off or telecommute. Emergency employees were told to report on time unless otherwise directed.

Elsewhere in the United States:
– In Massachusetts, where the forecast called for 12 to 18 inches of snow, Gov. Charlie Baker encouraged motorists to stay off the roads and to take public transit only if absolutely necessary, saying the fast snowfall rates will make driving hazardous.
– Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said about 700 National Guard members would be deployed along with more than 2,000 snowplows.
– In Illinois, state police said snowy weather caused two crashes on a Chicago expressway that involved a total of 34 cars. Seven people suffered minor injuries.
– The snow threat led college basketball teams to alter their March Madness travel plans. Villanova, top overall seed in the men’s NCAA Tournament, left Philadelphia on Monday afternoon for Buffalo to get ahead of the storm.
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The Associated Press contributed to this article.