First snowstorm of year strikes area: Bitter cold remains concern for Friday
The first snowstorm of 2014 dropped several inches of snow throughout the area Thursday, sending road crews out to clear streets throughout Bradford County.
Wyalusing Township supervisor Lanny Stethers said the township will be running three dump trucks and a pickup truck in order to keep roadways clear of snow. He said the trucks ran early Thursday, but by night time they were waiting for more accumulation to continue operations.
"All of the trucks are working and operating fine," Stethers said. "When we feel enough snow has accumulated we will be out there again."
Road operations are overseen by township roadmaster Jerry Cooley, Stethers said.
"We stress (to the public) to give us time and give us patience. We will get where we think we have to go first," Stethers explained. "We leave the operations up to Jerry and he knows what's going on."
Stethers said the public, along with the township, are accountable for making sound decisions during snow storms.
Troy borough manager Dan Close said Thursday that so far things are going as good as they could be given road conditions. He said he knew of no car accidents or power outages within the borough by Thursday night.
He estimated Troy to have received four to five inches of snowfall by about 6 p.m. Thursday.
Two borough employees are responsible for using snow removal trucks to tend to the five miles of roads located in the municipality. The borough's fleet consists of one cinder truck and pickup trucks with plows attached. An additional part-time employee may be requested to work if needed, Close said.
"The main thing right now is - if you don't need to go any place, don't be doing it," Close said.
"If possible, please park off the street and give us a chance to clean the roads up," he requested of residents.
He said borough employees will continue to plow all day and may work through the night depending on how the storm progresses.
"They will do some hard time tonight and we will do it again tomorrow. We are hoping to clean up side streets in the morning when the snow is done," Close said.
Crews in Sayre Borough began plowing early Thursday, and a snow emergency was declared in the borough at 10 a.m. Athens and South Waverly borough and the village of Waverly also declared snow emergencies Thursday. As of 5 p.m. Thursday, 7.5 inches of snow had fallen in Sayre, according to the National Weather Service.
Through Sayre's snow emergency ordinance, a snow emergency is automatically declared when a winter storm warning from the National Weather Service takes effect. The warning began at 10 a.m. Thursday and was expected to expire at 10 a.m. today.
The borough sent out a message through Bradford County's emergency notification system, CodeRED, reminding residents of the impending snow emergency and also posted details on its Facebook page.
In neighboring Tioga County, N.Y., the sheriff's department issued a county-wide travel advisory effective at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, cautioning motorists to travel only when necessary and use caution due to blowing snow.
Several area businesses closed early Thursday due to the weather, including Tioga Downs Casino in Nichols, N.Y., which is expected to reopen at noon today. The Sayre Theatre also closed Thursday night.
A snow emergency went into effect at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in Towanda Borough and was scheduled to remain in effect until the storm ended and the streets and parking areas were cleared of snow.
Under Towanda's emergency, owners of vehicles are asked to remove them from the street if off-street parking is available.
In addition, in Towanda's downtown, vehicles were required to be removed from on-street parking areas where the snow is 4 inches deep or more and signs are placed that state this. Once snow is removed from these areas to less than 4 inches, vehicles may return.
The emergency declaration also regulates the parking on Second, Third, Orchard, Chestnut and North Main streets and Ward Avenue, so that those streets can be plowed.
Towanda Police Sgt. David Lantz said Thursday evening that there were no significant problems so far from the storm.
Late Thursday afternoon, some of the stores in downtown Towanda were closed, due to the storm.
According to the National Weather Service at Binghamton, N.Y., blowing snow will continue into Friday morning. High temperatures will reach around 10 degrees. However, dangerously cold wind chills -- between minus 10 to minus 25 - were predicted for late Thursday night and today.
The NWS expects low temperatures tonight to reach around 10 degrees below zero, with wind continuing to make the air feel bitter cold.
From a public safety standpoint, the predicted cold temperatures are the "worst part" of the current storm, Bradford County Public Safety Director Robert Barnes said. If a power outage occurs that causes your home to lose its heat during the frigid temperatures, find someone you know to stay with, or else call 911 to be connected to emergency services personnel, who will locate for you a warming station or a place to stay, Barnes said.
The elderly and very young are particularly susceptible to the cold if a power outage were to occur, he said.
If you must travel, take along a blanket, some water and maybe a snack, in case something happened that caused you to get stuck in the cold, such as if your car went off the road, he said.
Those venturing outside should wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm, wear gloves and a hat, take frequent breaks and stay hydrated while shoveling, bring pets indoors and run water and open cabinet doors to prevent frozen pipes, according to the Red Cross.
The Red Cross urges people to watch for symptoms of hypothermia, including confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Those headed outdoors should also watch for symptoms of frostbite, including numbness or discolored or waxy-feeling skin.
Saturday is expected to be clear with high temperatures around 25 degrees, but the respite won't last long - the NWS expects another snowstorm to arrive in the area Sunday afternoon.
Staff writers James Loewenstein, Tim Zyla and Amanda Renko contributed to this report.