Heavy snows leave behind mess

Cleanup time

OBSERVER Photo by Jimmy McCarthy Snow snapped tree limbs at the State University of New York at Fredonia campus.

Fierce lake effect snows faded Friday morning as area residents began to dig out.

Accumulations exceeded a foot in most parts of northern Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. Plows stayed busy Thursday night and into Friday clearing main roads and local streets. Law enforcement spent much of their time dealing with downed trees and vehicle incidents.

Utility companies worked feverishly Friday restoring power in places like Fredonia, Lily Dale and Van Buren. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office said more than 3,200 county residents were still without power Friday evening. NYSEG reported just over 800 customers in the county without power as of 7:30 p.m. while National Grid said 1,156 customers were without power.

Crews from DFT Communications were also busy working to restore service to customers as snow and downed limbs damaged fiber transport links. Internet services and long-distance calling were impacted. Just before 8 p.m. Friday, DFT announced that all the affected Internet and long distance services were fully restored.

Downed trees and limbs caused issues in the village of Fredonia, but Mayor Athanasia Landis said the village came out all right.

OBSERVER Photo by Jimmy McCarthy Tree limbs came down near a residence on Temple Street in Fredonia.

“Our crews were out since 2 a.m. Friday to clear streets as much as they were able to and remove all dead trees,” she said. “They responded as well as expected.”

Landis said it was one of the toughest storms to confront this season due to the amount that fell in a short period of time. The village was under a travel advisory from Thursday evening to late afternoon Friday.

“It was heavy and it came down very, very quickly,” she said.

Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas said crews were still working on clearing side streets Friday. With the snow that fell, Rosas said the city was able to handle the work load.

“I was on a conference call (Friday) with state officials at the highest levels and other mayors and county executives to learn about the issues they’re dealing with,” he said. “We actually had more snow drop on us than other places that had to call for state of emergencies. We didn’t do that. Our guys were able to handle it. But we’re not done.”

OBSERVER Photos by Gregory Bacon National Grid workers were called to a branch on a power line Friday afternoon on Route 60 in the town of Pomfret.

In addition to side streets, Rosas said crews will work to get sidewalks cleared before school opens Monday.

“This storm was different to deal with since the snow was so wet and heavy,” he said. “We tried to use our sidewalk plow but we weren’t able to get through.”

Captain Eric Balon of New York State Police said troopers were busy tending to downed live wires, trees and a few accidents. Balon noted that conditions were much worse in Cattaraugus County than Chautauqua County in terms of power outages.

“We are doing what we can to make sure people are safe until things get back to normal,” Balon said.

As for snowfall totals, Forestville led the way with 22 inches, followed by Dunkirk, 18, Brocton, 17 and Fredonia, 16. Silver Creek received 14.3 inches while Ripley had 12 inches.