October 20, 2021

Winter storm wallops Cortland County

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Chris Ryan of Summer Hill plows to the end of his 700-foot driveway Sunday to discover that Creech Road is still covered in snow.

Paula Cowling was in Florida on Friday — a trip to Disney World with family where it was 80 degrees.

By Saturday morning, she was stocking up on food as she prepared to be homebound.

“It’s a stark difference,” she said while shopping at Tops Friendly Market in Cortlandville. She got the usual milk, eggs and butter as well as salsa, chips and laundry detergent.

She decided to stay in, snuggle up with a book and do laundry.

On Sunday, she woke to more than a foot of snow outside her house on Ridgeview Avenue in Cortlandville and news that her daughter and her family couldn’t get a flight home to Albany from Florida.

“Every once in a while the wind will gust up and you can’t see anything out the window,” she said.

The storm dropped anywhere from 6 to 12 inches in the Southern Tier, said Michael Kopy, the director of emergency management for the state Emergency Management Office. It brought 14 inches to Cortland.

It also brought frigid weather. Temperatures outside felt like stepping into the family freezer and shutting the door. The National Weather Service in Binghamton forecast a high today of around 4 degrees. However, wind chills will make it feel like negative 28 degrees.

The temperatures tonight will drop to around negative 5 degrees with windchills as low as negative 20.

The Tuesday morning wait at the bus stop will be unpleasant, and although the weather will warm to nearly 21, the wind chill will close to negative 16 degrees.

A travel advisory in Cortland County, issued Saturday, remained in effect until 9 a.m. A similar advisory in Cayuga County lasted until noon Sunday.

Tompkins Cortland Community College even closed due to the storm on Sunday and today.

Tammy Nivers of North Tower Road said she got 18 inches by Sunday morning. Her husband, Phil, went out early to plow their driveway and met temperatures in the single digits, with a wind chill well below zero.

“If we have to do it again, we’ll have a plow guy come,” she said. “No matter how much you gear up, it’s just not enough.”

While it was cold and snowy, Nivers was excited her power didn’t go out after having stocked up on food at the grocery store Saturday and putting buckets of water in her tub to flush the toilet.

However, she wasn’t too happy the weather had led to the cancellation of the all-county chorus concert, which her children were supposed to be in.

“They had to cancel it last year, too,” she said.

Chris Ryan spent Sunday plowing out his driveway on Creech Road in Summerhill. When he finally made it to the end of his driveway he discovered the street looked like it had yet to be touched by a plow. He estimated they got about 14 inches.

Jim Underwood, who lives near Lime Hollow Nature Center in Cortlandville, didn’t think Saturday was too bad, but measured 2 feet of snow Sunday morning at his house.

“It wasn’t too bad Saturday driving, you just had to take your time,” Underwood said Sunday. “This morning was what we had expected.”

People stayed bundled up in their home while snow crews plowed the streets.

A state of emergency was in effect in the village of Homer from 3:30 p.m. Saturday until noon Sunday and then Mayor Darren “Hal” McCabe put a snow emergency in place until noon today. People were not allowed to park on the streets or in municipal lots.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned tractor-trailers and buses from major roadways from 3 p.m. Saturday to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Rich Aylesworth, Cortland County Highway assistant maintenance supervisor, said Sunday crews were still working on the roads.

“The roads are still covered, but we’re doing the best we can with what we were dealt,” Aylesworth said. “We got pretty much got what they expected.”

Staff reporter Jacob DeRochie contributed to this article.