Snow slams area: Slick roads lead to travel troubles
After an apparent hiatus of several weeks, Old Man Winter came roaring back into town on Wednesday, although with less punch than experienced by other sections of the country.
However, the snow was not something to be taken lightly, particularly by those who drove during the storm. As reported on The Daily Review's Web site, a tractor trailer jackknifed on state Route 14 in Tioga County outside Canton, closing the highway for several hours. Traffic was also delayed on state Route 187 in Windham Township near Windham Center after a log truck overturned on the road, according to PennDOT reports. These were but two of the weather-related accidents reported Wednesday throughout the area that kept emergency responders busy throughout the day.
Predications released by the National Weather Service on Tuesday indicated that between six to 10 inches of snow was anticipated to fall Wednesday throughout Bradford County. However, local weather watcher Wayne Vanderpool reported at around 5 p.m. Wednesday - about the time the snow stopped falling - that he had recorded about 4.1 inches of snow on his snowboard at the Bradford County Airport in Towanda Township.
Although not as disruptive as the snowfalls that recently created a variety of woes for Washington, Philadelphia and New York City, the local weather still caused some problems for various area residents. All local schools, including Towanda, St. Agnes, Wyalusing, Northeast Bradford, Sullivan County, Athens, Sayre, Troy, Canton and Waverly, N.Y., were closed due to the snowfall. Districts reported that students will be making up the lost time in the near future.
Many children were seen throughout the area taking advantage of their unexpected day off to use the snow for various forms of recreation, such as sledding.
People were spotted with snowblowers and shovels, removing the snow from sidewalks and driveways.
Some communities declared snow emergencies as the storm approached, restricting vehicle travel and parking on certain streets until the snow could be removed.
Usually-busy streets in the Valley were quiet Wednesday as snow fell. A snow emergency was declared in Athens and Sayre Borough, and in the Village of Waverly. Athens, Sayre, and Waverly school districts closed school for the day; children were enjoying the time off, sledding and throwing snowballs. Students in the Sayre School District will have to pay their snow day back on Friday, a day-off scheduled as a snow makeup day.
The weather snarled roadways in the area as well, with U.S. Route 220 shut down for a little more than an hour as crews cleaned up an accident involving a sedan and a Williams Propane delivery truck.
The accident occurred as Amanda Chapman of Athens was heading north on Route 220 and lost control of her 1989 Cadillac Sedan on the icy roadway, traveling into the path of the southbound truck, according to Ralph Hadlock, captain with the Ulster Sheshequin Fire Department. The truck was driven by Victor Shepherd of Athens, Hadlock said, who unsuccessfully tried to avoid the impact.
Chapman's vehicle struck the left front side of the truck, Hadlock said; both vehicles had to be towed from the scene. The sedan was seriously damaged, he said, and the truck sustained moderate damage, but should be able to be repaired. A gas technician was called in from Williams to ensure the truck, which was loaded with propane, was secure, he said, and found no leaks from the truck.
In a press release, Athens Borough Mayor George Whyte issued a snow emergency for the borough, requesting that residents remove all vehicles parked along the designated snow emergency routes to facilitate plowing. Snow emergency routes in Athens are as follows, the release stated: Church Street, Hugh Street, North and South Elmira Street, North and South Main Street, North and South River Street, North Street, East and West Pine Street, Satterlee Street, Spruce Street, Susquehanna Street, Walnut Street and Wells Avenue. Travel on roadways within Athens Borough during a snow emergency is restricted, the release stated. Residents of the borough that live on non-snow emergency routes are asked to remove their vehicles from the roadway to facilitate plowing also, the release stated. All vehicles that are not removed from the roadway are subject to towing, according to the release.
Waverly Mayor Kyle McDuffee, in a press release, issued a reminder that in the Village of Waverly a snow emergency exists when snowfall reaches four inches or roadways become hazardous.
"Whenever such an emergency exists, it shall be unlawful for any person to park a vehicle on any street, avenue, or roadway in the Village of Waverly. Your cooperation in assisting the Street Department to clear the streets is greatly appreciated," the release stated.
Any vehicle in violation is subject to be ticketed and towed at the owner's expense, the release stated. Also, according to the release, it is unlawful to deposit snow onto the streets or roadways from snow blowers, shovels, plows, etc.
Western Bradford County
People emerged Wednesday in western Bradford County with snow shovels and snow blowers in hand, digging out from the storm.
Some emergency responders from the area, meanwhile, were kept busy with accidents in the wake of the snowfall.
Sometime after 10 a.m., a Jeep Cherokee went off the road and crashed into a house along Route 14 in South Creek Township, south of Woody's Country Store.
At the scene, the South Creek Volunteer Fire Department worked to get things back to normal.
A man who identified himself as Joshua Cliff of Canton said he was the driver, and said he slid on the snowy road, despite driving slowly. He said one passenger in his vehicle had a minor injury.
"You've got to take it easy, and even when you take it easy, you have misfortunes," he said.
He said the homeowner, who wasn't at home, is Mike McWilliams. The vehicle was towed.
Just down Route 14, Sharon Robert was using her snow blower while, across the road, a car had went off the pavement and was stuck in the snow. A state police vehicle was at the scene.
"We've had it bigger," Robert said of the snow. "I don't mind the snow."
The driver of the vehicle, who identified himself as David Spencer of Troy, said he just slid off the road. He had a different opinion of the weather.
"I hate it," he said.
In Troy, Police Chief Kyle Wisel said no crashes were reported.
"The street department did an outstanding job cleaning the local roads," he said around 11:30 a.m. "They're certainly passable at this point."
Later in the day, Stephen Burchard of Columbia Crossroads, a custodian, was clearing the parking lot of W.R. Croman Elementary School in Troy with a tractor and a plow.
Around noon, it was lightly snowing in Canton Borough, Amy Seeley, Canton Borough administrator, reported.
She said 3 to 4 inches had fallen. "The street crew was in and said they were on top of it," she added.
About 5 miles outside Canton Borough on Route 14 in Union Township, Tioga County, the Canton Volunteer Fire Department and Western Alliance ambulance were busy with a tractor-trailer accident. The vehicle came to rest across the roadway.
Following the accident, PennDOT reported that Route 14 was closed due to the crash. Route 14 traffic was being detoured via routes 15 and 6.
"I'm guessing the driver probably lost control on the slippery roads, jackknifed, and slid off the road," Canton Fire Chief Kim Jennings said. "It went up the embankment and ended up down there. He didn't have any control of it."
Jennings said the driver, who was traveling north, was entrapped, and it took about 20 minutes to get him out. The driver's name wasn't available.
"I believe he had minor injuries, I don't believe it was anything serious," Jennings said. He said Western Alliance ambulance took him somewhere, but he wasn't certain where he went.
According to Jennings, the trailer was empty. However, oil was spilled. Jennings estimated it was about 20 gallons.
The Canton fire department was on the scene because the accident was in its coverage area. The accident occurred around 12:30 p.m., Jennings estimated.
There was also a one-vehicle accident with no injuries in which a pick-up truck went off the side of the road Wednesday in LeRoy Township, he said.
On the Canton Area School District Web site, the district said that school was closed Wednesday.
It noted that, to make up the snow day on Wednesday, students will attend for a full day today. Students will also attend on Friday, Feb. 12, with an early dismissal for teacher in-service, the district noted. School is closed on Monday, Feb. 15, according to the announcement. Troy Area School District was also closed, and Mansfield University announced that, due to the deteriorating weather conditions and the projected forecast, classes were cancelled for students and the university was closed to the public. The campus closed at noon.
Just before 10:30 a.m., Mallory Babcock in Armenia Township reported, "We have about 4 inches of snow on the ground right now and it's still coming down.
"Our township truck did our road, but there are some roads that haven't been touched yet in other townships ... Not bad driving on them if you have four-wheel drive. The snow is very dry."
Central Bradford and Sullivan County
The Towanda Area School District and St. Agnes School in Towanda did not have school on Wednesday, due to the storm. There was no school Wednesday in the Sullivan County School District, either.
Towanda Police Officer Randy Epler said he was not aware of any storm-related accidents on Wednesday in Towanda Borough.
Trooper John Kern of the state police at Towanda said the number of motor vehicle accidents in Bradford County on Wednesday was higher than normal, due to the storm.
There were no storm-related accidents on Wednesday in Sullivan County, said a dispatcher for Lycoming County's 911 dispatch center, which serves Sullivan County. "I guess everyone (in Sullivan County) knew the storm was coming," he said.
Due to the storm, there were no movies shown Wednesday evening at the Bradford County Regional Arts Council's movie theaters in Towanda, Sayre and Canton.
Staff writers James Loewenstein, Eric Hrin, Brian Bishop, and C.J. Marshall contributed to this story.