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The view from the porch in Adams, NY this morning. Photo: Catherine Loper
The view from the porch in Adams, NY this morning. Photo: Catherine Loper

The view from smack in the middle of the snow belt

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Last week when the Tug Hill was getting several feet of snow, we called out to long time veterans of life in the lake effect belt to hear how you actually cope with a sudden dump of that much snow. Their response? Keep shoveling.

That's exactly what WRVO News Director Catherine Loper and her fiancee were trying to do at their home in Adams this morning. But they weren't making all that much progress.

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Reported by

Martha Foley
News and Public Affairs Director

Here's what Catherine had to say to WRVO's Morning Edition host Jason Smith about conditions in Jefferson County:

The lake effect snow warning for northern New York has been extended until Thursday morning as upwards of four feet of snow has fallen in some spots since Monday. A state of emergency remains in effect for 14 counties, including Oswego, Jefferson and Lewis Counties.

Forecasters predicted snow to fall at a rate of two to three inches an hour Wednesday morning in an area in the Tug Hill area.

Travel conditions are treacherous, with I-81 closed from Brewerton to the Canadian border. Barricades were put up yesterday to stop people who were ignoring the announced closure from using the highway.

Southern Jefferson County is experiencing some of the worst weather and road conditions. With the interstate closed, travelers took to Rt. 11 and other smaller roads, but many ended up getting stranded in towns and villages south of Watertown and in Lewis County.

Fire departments in Copenhagen, Harrisville, Lowville, Carthage, West Carthage and Adams opened up their fire halls to stranded motorists. Residents in many villages opened up their homes to stuck travelers as well. Most of the hotels in Watertown were reportedly booked with people who could not continue to drive any further.

Jody Pettit, the general manager of the Hilton Garden Inn in Watertown says just like her guests, her employees are unable to get in and out as well.

"We've got three housekeepers that have made it in today and over 117, 127 rooms to be cleaned. I was hostessing last night and I'll be stripping beds and cleaning today. And a lot of them are a little anxious because they can't get home to their families and have kids of their own that are not in school. There's strain there, but we've got our chin up and put on a smile and just do what we can do to keep going."

Businesses, offices, stores, restaurants and even health clinics closed though out the day Tuesday and announced they would remain closed on Wednesday. Schools from Watertown through southern Jefferson County.

The town of Watertown as well as villages of Harrisville, Carthage, West Carthage and Adams have declared states of emergency, with street side parking bans in some of those villages put in place.

Road crews had a difficult time keeping up with conditions. On Tuesday, the Jefferson County Highway Department reportedly had to halt its snow plows for periods of time because of visibility issues.

Some town and villages also had to halt road clearing operations for periods of time. In an interview with WWNY-TV in Watertown Wednesday morning, Jefferson County Highway Superintendent Jim Lawrence asked for people's patience.

Heavy snow in western New York caused the state thruway to close in both directions yesterday from Rochester all the way to the Pennsylvania border Tuesday. That section of the Thruway was re-opened around 5 a.m. Wednesday morning. Nearly 20 inches of snow were dumped on parts of western New York.

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