October 26, 2021

Snow, cold, crashes

Winter storm sweeps through Cortland area

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Dominick Fantacone uses a snow blower Friday to clear the sidewalk in front of his Church Street home in Cortland.

Two people were injured as heavy snow on top of sleet and freezing rain sent more than 30 cars off the road Friday and 14 inches of snow fell in 25 hours.

Cortland County Sheriff’s Capt. Rob Derksen said one person was injured about 1 a.m. Friday when a vehicle driven by a man suspected of being drunk slid into a telephone pole about 1 a.m. on Route 215 between Bennie and Starr roads in Cortlandville.

The snow started around sunrise and at times fell as much as 2 to 3 inches an hour, just in time to make the morning commute messy, slow and more than a little gray.

A tractor-trailer traveling north at 10:30 a.m. on Route 13 in Cayuga Heights jackknifed, forcing both lanes of the road to close, state police said. The driver was not injured, said Trooper Aga Dembinska.

The Cortland, Tompkins and Cayuga county sheriff’s departments all issued travel advisories, recommending people avoid driving if possible.

Todd R. McAdam

A Cortland city plow clears the way Friday morning as traffic makes its way along Port Watson Street in the city. The snow started about sunrise, laying down an expected 8 to 12 inches on top of sleet and freezing rain, inspiring school districts, colleges and other places to close for the day.

A car went off the road at 9:28 a.m. and struck an embankment near Sherbore Drive and Route 366 in Dryden, Dembinska said. The driver complained of head pain and was taken to Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca for evaluation.

Four power failures were reported in Dryden and Freeville, affected more than 1,100 New York State Electric & Gas customers. Power in Freeville was restored by 3:20 p.m., but power to more than 1,000 customers was not restored until Saturday.

Wind, snow and freezing rain caused these outages, said Michael Jamison, the senior manager of corporate communications for NYSEG.

As ugly as the weather was for drivers — and people without power — other people looked forward to the skiing.

“I’m enjoying it right now,” said Tim Yeatts of Cortland, who was shoveling in front of his house on Owego Street. “We’re finally getting some ski snow.”

Yeatts said he had shoveled the sidewalk in front of his Owego Street house three times Friday morning.

Even with the temperature dropping today, Yeatts said he was excited to have “cold weather, finally.”

More snow is on the way, said Joanne LaBounty, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Binghamton office.

Expect another inch today on top of the eight to 12 inches originally predicted Friday throughout Cortland County, LaBounty said.

Total snow reached 14 inches . Expect temperatures to peak around 20 degrees and winds of 10 to 20 mph. Road conditions, she said, may not improve greatly.

“With the wind, there will still be snow-covered roads,” she said.

Temperatures will warm Sunday morning and early afternoon with a high near 30 degrees and sun expected before another chance of snow Sunday night into Monday morning.

Not everyone was happy about the snow.

“My butt is from Georgia; I lived there for 18 years,” said Susan Barnhart of Cortland as she walked down Church Street. “This stuff needs to go away.”

Barnhart was checking on senior residents in the city as a personal care aide. She may not like the snow, but it was worth braving to make sure people were taken care of.

“It’s great that knowing they’re OK and that they’re safe,” she said.