The White Stuff Arrives - And How!
By Jeanne Sager
SULLIVAN COUNTY February 16, 2007 “We finally had a nice winter storm.”
Coming from a highway superintendent, that’s probably the best way to sum up Mother Nature’s visit to Sullivan County Wednesday.
Although forecasters were calling for as much as 2 feet of snow in a day, Town of Callicoon Highway Superintendent Jim Hess and his colleagues were ready and waiting.
“It was nothing special,” he said Thursday morning. “We did OK no accidents, no stressed-out incidents, we did fine.”
Highway crews across the county were working ’round the clock to first keep up with the snow that began late Tuesday evening then the sleet that started early Wednesday morning and then snow again by Wednesday afternoon.
Despite a mild winter, this isn’t the first time they’ve hit the roads this season ice and dustings have put the crews on the roads about 10 times in the past few months according to Sullivan County Department of Public Works head Bob Meyer.
But Wednesday’s storm was by far the worst, he said.
“It’s so easy to forget what winter is really like,” Meyer noted. “I was getting used to the way it’s been these last few months.
“It was a little dose of reality,” he added with a laugh.
Reality kept Sullivan’s residents off the roads, and both the New York State Police and Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office had little to report.
“People listened to the advice of public safety officials and stayed home!” said Undersheriff Eric Chaboty.
Caution won out over convenience beginning Tuesday afternoon as schools canceled after-school activities and meetings were postponed in anticipation of a 3 p.m. start to the winter storm warning (although the first flake held off until much later that evening).
Livingston Manor Central School announced late Tuesday night that it wouldn’t be opening the following day, and every other district in the county quickly followed suit.
Sullivan County Manager David Fanslau officially shut down county offices around 2 p.m. Wednesday, as did the majority of employers after Fanslau’s decree was read on the radio, advising residents to stay off the roads after 3 p.m. unless absolutely necessary.
With the National Weather Service calling for 30 to 40 mile per hour winds, Meyer said the county wasn’t taking any chances.
The winds had the potential of creating drifts on already cleared roadways, and blinding drivers including the plow and sand truck operators who wouldn’t be able to see a car stuck in the middle of the road.
But Meyer reported no problems for his department no accidents or injuries, and just a few breakdowns.
It might have been the first big storm of the season, but it really was business as usual for folks in the business of snow removal.
“It takes the same work to clean up 2 feet of snow that it does 2 inches,” Hess said matter-of-factly.