By JOHN KEKIS, Associated Press Writer
With more than 8 feet of snow already coating the ground, it wasn't
good news for this winter-weary region when the blue sky turned gray
Saturday, signaling another intense snow squall was about to dump some
"This is bad," said 67-year-old Dave DeGrau, who has operated an auto
repair shop on Main Street for 45 years. "We had a very easy winter
until now. Last fall during hunting season it rained every time I went
out. I kept saying 'I'm glad this isn't snow.' Now, it's snow."
Persistent bands of lake-effect snow squalls fed by moisture from Lake
Ontario have been swinging up and down this part of central New York
along the lake's eastern shore since last Sunday.
The National Weather Service said Parish about 25 miles northeast of
Syracuse reached a milestone early Saturday with 100 inches of snow
during the past seven days. Late Saturday, the total had risen to 110
inches. Unofficial reports pegged totals at 123 inches in Orwell and 131
in Redfield, but those measurements include snow from another storm a
couple of days before the current weather system. All three towns are in
A warning in effect until Monday morning said 2 to 4 more feet of snow
was possible with wind gusting up to 24 mph.
"That's all we need," Mike Avery said as he took a brief break from
loading dump trucks with snow to be hauled to a pile outside town. "It's
The fluffy new snow was a magnet for snowmobilers, but stopping was out
of the question.
"You can't stop or you're done," said Dan Hojnacki, 23, of Syracuse,
after he ground to a halt in a field. "I never got stuck until today,
and I've been snowmobiling for 10 years."
Residents of the nearby town of Mexico see 5- to 6-foot snowfalls every
two or three years, but this time even hardened locals are amazed. The
only sign of parked SUVs are their radio antennas or roof racks sticking
up above the snow. Front doors are buried and footprints lead to
second-story windows. Sidewalks that have been dug out look like
The state transportation department said 125 workers from elsewhere in
the state had been sent in with snow equipment to help.
The region is located along the Tug Hill Plateau, the snowiest region
this side of the Rocky Mountains. It's a 50-mile wedge of land that
rises 2,100 feet from the eastern shore of Lake Ontario. It usually gets
about 300 inches roughly 25 feet of snow a year.
The hamlet of Hooker, near the boundaries of Jefferson, Lewis, and
Oswego counties, holds the state's one-year record with 466.9 inches,
about 39 feet, in the winter of 1976-77.
Still, less than a month ago it seemed more like spring.
"Gosh, three weeks ago there was green on the ground. We got spoiled,"
Parish Mayor Leon Heagle said. "This just came fast. This is not
normal. God, we can't catch a break. I feel like getting right in the
car and driving south, but I'd probably get in trouble."
The intense blast of snow hasn't been blamed for any deaths in Oswego
County. Elsewhere, however, more than a week of bitter cold and
slippery roads have contributed to at least 20 deaths across the
northeastern quarter of the nation; five in Ohio, four in
Illinois, four in Indiana, two in Kentucky, two in Michigan, and one
each in Wisconsin, and Maryland and elsewhere in New York, authorities
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.
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[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: And _I_ thought it was bad here this
winter with several inches of snow lingering on, and solid ice
everywhere for about two weeks. This has been a very hard winter for
many folks. I guess 1985-86 was bad here and in Oklahoma also, but
for some reason I keep remembering 1967 in Chicago and 1978 in
Chicago. But a winter I especially remember was when I was a very
little guy, about five years old, in 1947 here in Independence. Mother
had brought me up from Coffeyville on the interurban train to see a
friend of hers. Her friend picked us up in her car (this was in the
middle of winter, in February, and there was ice _everywhere_ just
like middle January this time around. As we rode from the interurban
station down Maple Street, we passed the corner of 6th and Maple, and
the Southwestern Bell Telephone Exchange Building. Bell did not bury
wires underground in those days, they were above ground on poles, so
the closer we got to the telephone building, the more wires there were
approaching the building from every direction; finally in what is now
the parking lot of that building, all the wires came together and down
into the side of the building. (Now, they no longer have a switchboard
in there, nor, for that matter a business office. That's all been done
away with in the name of 'effeciency'.) But this time, in 1947, icycles
were hanging off all the telephone wires in the sky, and when it got
over to the edge of the exchange building, it was all solid ice
hanging from the wires; like a giant free lance 'ice sculpture'
hanging from the wires to the ground and all along the side of the
building where the wires entered the building. PAT]