By SHIRLEY PULAWSKI
OBSERVER Staff Writer
As predicted, a persistent snowfall created problems across Chautauqua County soon after winter storm Euclid began to move through the area.
OBSERVER Photo by Matt Panebianco
A woman brushes off a vehicle in Dunkirk Wednesday.
A serious accident closed Route 394 from Route 20 in Westfield to Route 430 in Mayville. The closure began early in the afternoon and continued into the evening as police and fire investigators attempted to re-create the conditions leading up to the incident.
State police reported many cars went off the road in the middle and southern parts of the county. Road conditions deteriorated rapidly and were problematic, beginning early Wednesday afternoon, according to state police sources.
Around 4:45 p.m., Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb of Cattaraugus County issued a travel advisory. Icy, snow-covered roads were said to have created dangerous road conditions and contributed to multiple accidents, and the office advised against any unnecessary travel. The advisory was issued until 6 a.m. today
Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph Gerace suggested people reschedule travel plans if possible, but did not issue a formal advisory for the county. "It is winter driving. People have to reduce their speed and drive carefully," he said.
In Dunkirk, police said Wednesday evening four car accidents occurred, but with no injuries. The incidents mostly involved cars sliding through intersections, according to sources at the department.
Meteorologist Bill Hibbert of the National Weather Service in Buffalo said Wednesday evening the storm was playing out about as predicted. "There are only very slight changes like minor tweaks on snowfall amounts," but the forecast and ending times for the storm remained the same. He said areas along the Pennsylvania border would get up to 12 inches of snow, and from 10 to 16 inches in other areas.
The storm won't end all at once. In Chautauqua County the snow is expected to taper off by 10 a.m. when the weather advisory expires, but later in Erie County. "In Chautauqua County it's ending earlier in the southern tier of the county, and noon to early afternoon in the metro Buffalo area into the Niagara Frontier," he explained. The advisory in Erie County ends at 1 p.m.
Euclid was blamed for six deaths in the South earlier in the day, where up to 34 tornadoes were reported to have formed as the storm moved through states north of the Gulf of Mexico.
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