Cold Sweep

Hundreds Lose Power After Storm Pummels Southern Tier

Thousands of customers were without power after a late-season storm dumped more than a foot of snow in some parts between late Thursday and Friday morning.

The outages, according to National Grid, dotted across Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties and were largely the result of heavy snow causing trees and branches to fall onto power lines. Crews spent much of the day repairing the lines, with outages reported in Busti, North Harmony, Ellery, Mina and Clymer, among other locations.

The storm forced most school districts to close and the postponement of the Section VI boys basketball tournament at Jamestown Community College. The games are scheduled to be played today.

Capt. Eric Balon of the New York State Police reported many trees and power lines down. He said first responders — including troopers and several local fire departments — battled downed power lines, trees and branches for most of Friday.

Extra patrols were added to assist motorists. There were some car crashes and reports of cars in ditches, but none serious locally, Balon said.

The view down East Second Street around 8 a.m. Friday as a plow attempts to clear the road. Most schools in the area were closed due to the snow. P-J photo by Eric Tichy

Things were only worse in Cattaraugus County, where some places such as Little Valley saw 16 inches of snow. Additional personnel with the state police were added as more than 1,000 homes at one point were without power countywide.

“We are doing what we can to make sure people are safe until things get back to normal,” Balon told The Post-Journal.

The American Red Cross on Friday night opened a warming station at the Bolivar-Richburg High School, located at 100 School St, Bolivar in Allegany County. The shelter was open for any resident impacted by the winter storm.

A travel advisory had been issued by the Cattaraugus County Sherriff’s Office late Thursday but was lifted once the storm passed. Administrative offices were closed for the day.

Elsewhere, crews with the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities were out Friday to restore power to several hundred customers.

“According to supervisors, the heavy snow on trees and tree branches caused most of the problems, with wind playing a factor,” the BPU said in a statement.

Due to the weather, Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello told all nonessential county workers not to report to work.

Meanwhile, Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, canceled three local events he had planned to attend Friday as a result of the winter storm. The congressman was scheduled to visit Silver Creek Central School to discuss recent school violence and meet with the school’s resource officer.

Reed also planned to kick-off the 16th annual “March for Meals” event for Meals on Wheels in Dunkirk as well as attend a luncheon in Mayville hosted by the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce.

According to the National Weather Service in Buffalo, Forestville led the state in snow accumulation with 22 inches. Elsewhere, 18 inches of snow fell in Dunkirk; 16 inches in Fredonia; 17 inches in Brocton; 14 inches in Silver Creek; and 12 inches in Jamestown, Ripley and French Creek.

The forecast for the next couple of days includes a mix of sun and clouds, with only a chance of snow showers late Monday.