October 22, 2021

Wintry wallop: Snow, ice close roads, schools

7.5 inches hits area, with more on the way

Stock image of winter roads

Snowy and rainy conditions caused 60 property damage accidents and five personal injury accidents Sunday and this morning across Cortland County, leading police agencies to issue travel advisories.

Schools were closed, of course, as were colleges and a number of pre-schools. Meals on Wheels for Cortland and Tompkins counties were canceled, too. Homer and Cortland municipal offices shut down, and Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit limited service.

A winter storm warning continues until midnight as more than 7.5 inches of snow had fallen in Cortland by 8 a.m.

“We handled a lot of accidents, especially when the ice and rain started,” said Scott Roman, the Cortland County director of Emergency Response and Communications. “There were no catastrophic accidents that I know of, all minor injuries.”

Remain cautious as a winter storm warning remains in effect for the greater Cortland County area until midnight tonight, suggests the National Weather Service’s website.

Roads haven’t been closed, but travel advisories were issued in Cortland, Tompkins and Cayuga counties.

“Travel is not restricted, but not recommended,” Cortland County Sheriff Mark Helms said in a release.

The state Department of Transportation also lowered the speed limit on Interstate 81 from Syracuse to Pennsylvania to 45 mph from 65 mph due to icy road conditions.

Multiple accidents on Interstate 81 in Barker, in Broome County, kept the road closed for much of Sunday, but it reopened Sunday afternoon.

Snow, often heavy at times, will continue to fall throughout the day and this evening. The area is expected to get up to 12 inches of snow. Winds will gust up to 20 mph, affecting visibility.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo placed National Guard personnel on standby Sunday and deployed state commissioners from the state police, DOT, Thruway Authority and the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to areas impacted hard by the storm, according to a news release from his office.

Fire departments are also asking that people remember to keep hydrants clear of snow in case of an emergency.

Snow Removal Safety Tips

  • Do not shovel after eating or while smoking.
  • Take it slow and stretch before you begin.
  • Push the snow rather than lift it.
  • If you do lift it, use a small shovel or only partially fill the shovel.
  • Lift with your legs, not your back.
  • Do not work to the point of exhaustion.
  • Know the signs of a heart attack and stop immediately and call 911 if you experience any of the signs.
  • Don’t shovel without a doctor’s permission if you have a history of heart disease.

Snow blower safety tips

  • If the blower jams, turn it off.
  • Keep your hands away from the moving parts.
  • Be aware of the carbon monoxide risk of running a snow blower in an enclosed space.
  • Add fuel outdoors, before starting, and never add fuel when it is running.
  • Never leave it unattended when it is running.

— Source: National Safety Council