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January 2, 2014

Officials: Brace for big storm

By Mark Boshnack Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — A winter storm warning issued by the National Weather Service in Binghamton until 10 a.m. Friday calls for 6 to 12 inches of snow.

Dangerously cold wind chills Thursday evening and Friday are also possible, according to the forecast.

The snow from the slow-moving storm started in the area Wednesday, according to the NWS. It could be heavy at times Thursday afternoon and evening, before tapering off to snow showers Friday morning.  Northerly winds could increase, with bitterly cold air pushing down into the area Thursday evening and Friday morning, with wind chills dropping as low as minus 25 degrees.

Area officials said Wednesday they were ready for the winter weather, and offered some tips to stay safe.

“We are having a typical upstate winter,” Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller said. Dealing with the snow is something local government does and “we will be ready.” Plans have been made with city officials based on the Binghamton forecast, he said.

Sidney Mayor Andrew Matviak said starting in December, the village has a night crew, so personnel are available all day to clear the snow if needed. With recent snows, village officials will soon be looking at the budget and making adjustments if needed to be sure there is proper funding for such work this winter, he said.

Oneonta police Chief Dennis Nayor said people should remember city regulations prohibit parking on its streets when there is 2 ½ inches or more of snow. Enforcement of parking regulations in the municipal parking garage will be suspended while the roads are cleared, he said.

He also urged motorists to use caution and drive defensively during winter storms for safer travel. After an accident, cars should be moved to the side of the road if possible, with four-way flashers or flares deployed, and motorists should remain in the vehicle after they call for help. It is dangerous to stand outside the vehicle in the roadway, he said.

In extreme cold, people should not be outside for prolonged periods, and should always dress appropriately to ensure safety, Nayor said. He also warned people taking care of animals, not to leave them outside or unattended during the types of conditions being forecast.