About 110 cars were towed in the city of Oneonta during the storm that arrived in the area late Tuesday.
A storm from the Mississippi Valley brought about a foot of snow in some areas, according to the National Weather Service in Binghamton. The heaviest snowfall was in the Oneonta area. There is a possibility of a storm this weekend, but there is nothing definite, a meteorologist said.
Oneonta police Lt. Douglas Brenner said after notifying the community through public service announcements, social media and other sources, towing started at about 4 a.m. Wednesday and concluded at about 9 a.m.
“We wanted to started as soon as the snow reached three inches, so the Department of Public Works could a jump on removal” before people started their day, he said, adding that it’s easier to plow before other traffic starts. “We were surprised so many were towed — we thought people understood the ordinance better.”
The ordinance allows the city to declare a snow emergency, requiring that all cars be removed from city streets, any time there is 2½ inches or more of snow. Any cars remaining on the street will be towed at the owner’s expense.
The city has a list of impound yards where such cars are taken, Brenner said. Owners have to come to the police station and pay their fine, before they will be driven to their vehicle.
On Wednesday the penalty for each car was $150, Brenner said, and that will increase $5 each day for storage. It generally takes a couple of days for everyone to claim their cars, he said. Brenner said 62 had been picked up by about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. People can call 432-1111 for information about retrieving their vehicles.
According to a media release from the city fire department, no parking is permitted on city streets until roadways can be cleared. City parking lots are available and regulations there have been suspended through at least 8 a.m today. A travel advisory is in effect, which means no unnecessary travel in the city.
Many area public schools were closed Wednesday because of the weather. Hartwick College and SUNY Oneonta were also closed, and many meetings were canceled because of the storm. Roxbury Central School is on a two-hour delay today.
Otsego County Emergency Service Coordinator Kevin Ritton said that the situation has not warranted any road warnings on a county level. He said Wednesday that he had heard of a few property-damage accidents, but none that caused injuries.
There was enough warning about the storm for people to take time off, work from home, or leave enough time to travel safely, he said, and road crews have been able to keep up with the storm.
A travel advisory was lifted in Chenango County at 5 p.m.Wednesday. There were a few property-damage accidents but no injuries because of the storm, a dispatcher said.
Delaware County offices were closed Wednesday because of the weather. Road closure at 2 p.m that afternoon, and a travel advisory was due to be lifted at 11 p.m. At 4 p.m., relatively few traffic accidents were reported, with no injuries.
The county’s Department of Public Works Commissioner, Wayne Reynolds, said highway foremen were out at 4:30 a.m. getting everything ready to start plowing Wednesday, and crews were ready to go within the hour. Roads were salted before the storm to keep the ice from getting a good hold, he said, and the salting didn’t resume until after the snow let up.
At about 2 p.m, no equipment breakdowns had yet been reported, Reynolds said. While the winter has been hard on overtime and material budgets, Reynolds said he anticipates 75 percent of the maintenance budget will also be spent in the winter months. He said he will review the situation in the spring and if the numbers require, summer maintenance will have to be cut back.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a release that although a travel ban had been lifted on I-84 Wednesday afternoon between the Pennsylvania and Connecticut borders, motorists should proceed with caution, as slippery road conditions may remain in certain areas.
Motorists can also get real-time traffic information, including road closures and winter road conditions by calling 511 or visiting www.511NY.org. The phone and web services provide travelers with up-to-the-minute traffic conditions and links to information about air, rail and transit services.