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Feb. 16, 2007


With up to a foot of new snow overnight and lake effect snow warnings in effect until 10 p.m. tonight, Oswego County officials are reminding people to drive with extreme caution.

“Blowing and drifting snow can cause slippery conditions, so even if it’s not snowing where you are, conditions can be hazardous,” County Emergency Management Director Patricia Egan said. “The National Weather Service forecast indicates another 6 to 12 inches of snow is possible throughout the county, and the New York State Police are reminding people to take it easy on the roads.”

Egan reminded motorists that visibility at intersections is limited due to the very high snow banks. “Please drive slowly, and make sure you are able to stop at the intersections,” she said.

The county’s fire service has also reported a number of roof issues and building collapses. County Fire Coordinator John Hinds reminded people to be cognizant of snow loads on their homes and outbuildings such as garages and to take proper safety precautions in clearing them off.

“We recommend people hire someone who has the proper equipment and training to do the work if at all possible,” Hinds said. “Hire a professional to do it. But if you must do it alone, don’t do it alone. Use snow rakes or poles so you don’t have to climb. Make sure you look where you’re putting the snow; don’t pile it on top of propane tanks or gas meters to your home.”

Hinds also reminded people to follow fire prevention and safety tips, especially as the cold temperatures have heating appliances working harder. “Many of the fires we’ve seen recently have been due to wood stoves,” he said. “Make sure your wood stove is the proper distance from the wall, and make sure you never leave a wood stove or space heater unattended.”

Today’s weather has prevented state Department of Corrections crews from returning to the county to clear hydrants for local fire departments. While they are expected back tomorrow and for the next several days, Hinds said local residents can help by clearing snow from hydrants next to their home. “Fire services rely on hydrants, and firefighters must be able to use them in a hurry,” he said.

City of Fulton Fire Chief Anthony Gorea suggested people adopt a hydrant and keep it clear and accessible for firefighting. He also reminded residents not to bury the hydrant while plowing, shoveling or snow blowing. “Those are great tips,” Hinds said. “People throughout the county should follow them.”

“As people clear snow from their homes, please make sure you uncover the vents to your home and clear around your propane tanks,” he said. “Carbon monoxide poisoning is a real concern. People should also remember to keep their house numbers visible from the street.”

Oswego County Director of Health Kathy Smith reminded residents to continue following safety tips while working or playing in the snow. “We want to make sure people are taking the proper steps to avoid frostbite and hypothermia, and to avoid accidents,” she said.

County and local highway crews are keeping up with the new snowfall and facilitating the assistance of the State Department of Transportation and Army National Guard. “People should continue to drive carefully,” Assistant Highway Superintendent Kurt Ospelt said. “We’re also asking people to avoid parking on local roads, and to not plow snow across the road - that makes it dangerous for plow drivers and other motorists.”

On Saturday morning, the State Department of Transportation will begin demobilizing workers from other regions of New York State that have been working on local roads for the last eight days. These workers are being replaced with two new snow blower crews working 24 hours a day, for up to an additional week. In total, an additional 25 to 30 new workers and equipment will be brought in from the department's Rochester, Binghamton, Hornell and Poughkeepsie regions. Work locations on the local highway system will continue to be based on priorities as determined by the Oswego County Office of Emergency Management.

The Army National Guard will be providing snow removal assistance to public buildings through the weekend.

The state of emergency declared by Oswego County Legislature Chairman Russ Johnson is expected to expire Feb. 18. County officials will notify the public through the media of any changes. A travel advisory issued Feb. 5 for the county remains in effect.

All of the county’s press releases issued for this emergency, including safety tips, are available on the county website, www.oswegocounty.com.

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