December 8, 2010
Lake effect snow makes for treacherous travel
Police urge caution for drivers on slippery roads as weekend to bring more snowfall
Lake effect snow and potent wind gusts from the season’s first significant winter storm have made for some treacherous travel this week around Cortland County, sending many cars off the road.
The National Weather Service extended a lake effect snow warning into tonight for Cortland and other nearby counties. Forecasters were predicting between 5 and 9 inches of snowfall.
Forecasters also predict more snow showers to pick up Friday and last throughout the weekend.
Wind speeds of 15 to 25 mph and gusts of up to 30 mph reported during the snowstorm this week mean drivers are urged to use extreme caution on the roads, weather service officials said Tuesday.
Twenty-two motor vehicle accidents reported Tuesday to the Cortland County 911 Center, all of which were related to the weather.
The crashes were mostly in the Cortlandville and Virgil areas, all involving property damage and no major injuries, said Lt. Robert Derksen of the Cortland County Sheriff’s Department.
In most cases, he said, the drivers lost control of their vehicles and went off the road.
“Take your time and make sure your vehicle is cleared off for visibility,” Derksen said.
As an added hazard for drivers in some locations, the wind blew snow back onto the roads after the plows had gone by, Derksen said.
State police responded to at least six crashes Tuesday on Interstate 81. Other local hazardous spots included Bennie Road, Gracie Road off Route 13 and Cold Brook Road.
State authorities remind drivers to give themselves extra time to get to their destination during the snowy weather and drive at a slower speed in order to allow more time to stop, especially on icy roads. They recommend allowing at least three times more space than usual between cars.
Drivers should brake gently to avoid skidding on slippery roads and use low gears to keep traction, particularly when traveling on hills, according to state authorities.
Snow plows have kept busy this week clearing and salting local roads amid the continued snowfall.
State authorities also urge motorists not to pass snow plows and sanding trucks because their drivers have limited visibility and the road conditions ahead of them are likely to be worse than behind.
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