Late season storm hits the North Country hard

ELIZABETHTOWN Dick Peters of Elizabethtown summed up the feelings of a lot of North Country residents to the late season storm which hit the region on Sunday, April 15. Yeck! Does that cover it? Peters asked. Peters, like many area residents, spent much of Monday morning cleaning up after the noreaster which dropped several inches of soggy snow on the region. The snow, which was chased by a light rain shower, was heavy and caused many branches to break, closing roads, causing power outages and leaving a mess for local landowners to clean up. State of emergency Essex County declared a state of emergency about midnight on Sunday, which lasted through Wednesday at noon. The county advised extreme caution if people needed to travel. County Manager Cliff Donaldson said the response to this storm was probably far better than during the Valentines Day blizzard. Donaldson said discussions took place throughout the weekend in preparation for the storm. The decision to close the county was made a little after 9 p.m. on Sunday. Twenty-four-hour facilities, life the sheriffs department and Horace Nye, operated with skeleton staffs. The Horace Nye Home was also prepared to house elderly Essex County residents that might have been affected by the storm. Everyone did an excellent job, and mitigated any major problems that may have happened due to this storm, said Donaldson. Essex County Emergency Coordinator Raymond Thatcher said that the storm could have been a lot worse. High winds, which devastated Vermont, didnt materialize in the area. At the height of the storm, 8,000 people in Essex County were without power, both NYSEG and National Grid customers. Thatcher said while he understood the frustration of customers, both companies were responding effectively, mobilizing mutual aid. Most customers had electricity back by Wednesday. Route 9 was closed down in several places for prolonged periods, including in the Split Rock and North Hudson areas. Thatcher added that a lot of secondary roads were also under travel restrictions. There is a lot of tree damage, and there is a lot of debris removal, said Thatcher. While Essex County didnt have any major car accidents, there was a higher rate of accidents. Thatcher estimated over 20 minor accidents took place, most on I-87. Several fire departments, including Willsboro, Schroon Lake, Mineville-Witherbee, and Minerva, opened warming stations for those affected by the outage. Thatcher said the response to the storm was one of the better ones for the county, primarily due to the planning process and preparation. Fatality on the Northway On Sunday, Sara Rosen, 27, was killed near exit 34 on I-87 when the 2007 Toyota minivan driven by her husband, Dovid Rosen, skidded off the southbound land. Her child, two-month-old Malkah Rosen, sustained severe head injuries in the crash. The mother had temporarily unbuckled her seat belt and was breast-feeding the child, according to emergency officials. No time to play ball AuSable Valley, like many area teams, was slated to start its spring sports season on April 16, but was forced to cancel due to snow-covered fields. We pretty much canceled all of our games this week - as a league, were looking at revamping the baseball and softball schedule, said athletic director Karen Lopez on Tuesday. Three baseball and three softball games were canceled. Possibilities include scheduling double-headers or decreasing the games for the season. Lopez said all the sports had been affected. Track and tennis should continue as usual, since the seasons start in May. However, the weather has kept practices for softball and baseball indoors, which has been frustrating for the athletes. It's getting old, real old, said Lopez. Its very difficult to have enthusiasm and be psyched about the beginning of the season when you don't know when the beginning of the season will be. Its a similar story for schools in the Mountain and Valley Athletic Conference. Brad Rascoe, athletic director at Westport Central Schools, said that schools are planning on trying to have double-headers. A shortage of officials makes it difficult to reschedule regular games. Games for Westport were canceled for the week, and while Rascoe hopes to start the season the week of April 23, he isnt confident it will happen. Good news for Whiteface The storm did have one notable benefit Whiteface Mountain is extending its ski season for an additional weekend. Whiteface has received over two feet of new snow in the past week. Whiteface, located in Wilmington, re-opened Friday, April 20 and will run through April 22 from 8:30 a.m.4 p.m. Whiteface will have the outdoor barbeque fired up as well. With mid-winter conditions this is some of the best skiing and riding we have ever had in April, said Bruce McCulley, assistant general manager of Whiteface. We look forward to seeing our season pass holders and daily guests at Whiteface. The Olympic Mountain in Wilmington will offer three lifts: Face Lift quad, Summit Quad and the Little Whiteface double chair. For the latest ski and ride conditions, log on to www.whiteface.com.

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