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Storm dumps 8 to 20 inches of snow on north country

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North country residents woke up to a fresh blanket of powdery snow Thursday morning.

Between 8 and 20 inches of snow fell Wednesday night and Thursday morning, leading to delays, cancellations and travel advisories throughout Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

“It was not a lake-effect event,” said Thomas J. Paone, a National Weather Service meteorologist based in Buffalo. “It was very widespread.”

Snow spotters measured 9 inches of snow in Theresa and 13 inches in Beaver Falls.

Anywhere from 2 to 4 additional inches of snow were expected by this morning.

Jefferson County plows started about 2 a.m. Thursday, according to James L. Lawrence Jr., county highway superintendent.

Mr. Lawrence said roads were pretty consistent in terms of accumulation, with more wind drifts in the rural areas of the county. Some drifts reached heights of 3 feet.

The storm didn’t come as much of a surprise to the department.

“It was to our advantage last year to have low accumulation,” Mr. Lawrence said. “But now we’re back to a typical winter.”

In Watertown, the snow trucks began plowing at 6 p.m. Wednesday and worked nonstop through the night, said Peter E. Monaco, city Department of Public Works assistant superintendent.

“Everything’s been plowed at least once,” he said Thursday morning. “There might be three or four inches of snow on the ground, but it was plowed over at one time. Everything’s going to be plowed until the snow stops. We won’t be able to finish it in one night.”

Both departments are working on cleaning up the remaining snow on the roads. Mr. Monaco said he hopes all city streets will be completely cleared by Saturday night. Refuse pickup is delayed one day because of the holidays, so city employees will work both this and next Saturday.

Although he is a member of the Watertown City School District Board of Education, Mr. Monaco did not have to worry about student transportation this week because of winter break.

“There probably would have been a snow day today,” he said.

Authorities urged everyone to avoid unnecessary travel for most of Thursday.

Both the Jefferson County Office of Fire and Emergency Management and the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department lifted travel advisories by the afternoon.

Steven W. Gerstenschlager, Watertown International Airport maintenance supervisor, said the Thursday morning flight to Chicago was canceled. The evening flight from Chicago also was canceled.

A Facebook update from Fort Drum suspended duty for “all nonessential personnel” about 10 a.m., urging soldiers to be cautious as they returned home.

Jefferson Community College had a notice on its website saying the campus was closed.

Additionally, Samaritan Keep Home Adult Day Health Care program was closed all of Thursday.

The ski trails were open for business, however.

“I’m sure there’s no one happier in Jefferson County than I am,” Dry Hill Ski Area owner Timothy L. McAtee said.

Approximately four trails and the snow tubing track were open Thursday because of the foot of snow that fell in the area overnight.

“The man-made snow lasts longer, but the natural snow gets the skiers out here,” he said. “It’s a lot better than last year already.”

Judy E. Sweeney, manager of Snow Ridge Ski Resort, Turin, was also happy about the recent snowstorm. She said the ski area had 20 inches of snow Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

“Last year, we only had two trails open,” she said Thursday afternoon. “We’ll have 20 trails opened tomorrow. As long as the temperatures stay cold, the snow will stay, and there’s snow in the forecast.”

According to Mr. Paone, significant snowfall is not expected in the next week, however.

“The worst of the storm, as far as accumulation, is over,” he said. “We have a snowstorm we’re tracking that’s south of (New York). We’ll be on the northern fringes of the storm.”

Times staff writer Daniel Flatley contributed to this report.

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