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December 31, 2012

Wintry weather ups snow totals

The Daily Star

---- — Mother Nature is playing winter-weather catch up by blanketing the area with snow during two recent storms, David K. Mattice, National Weather Service observer in Emmons, said Sunday.

Snowfall had reached 23.4 inches so far this month, Mattice said, more than the normal rate of 15.7 inches. Between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30, snowfall was only 29 inches, he said, compared to a normal annual rate of 83 inches.

On Saturday, a snowstorm made roads icy and reduced visibility. Law enforcement agencies in Otsego, Delaware and Chenango counties said wintry conditions led to multiple cars off roadways and some fender-bender crashes but no reports of serious injuries.

On Wednesday, a Norwich woman died in a weather-related crash in that town, said authorities who reported that other accidents were minor. The mid-week storm left 7 to 10 inches of snow in Otsego County and 5 to 8 inches in Delaware County, the NWS in Binghamton said.

Mattice reported that 6.2 inches of snow fell Saturday in Emmons, which is at a higher elevation than Oneonta. He recorded 11.6 inches of snow in the Wednesday-Thursday storm, he said, and accumulations varied throughout the area.

“What we have is going to stick around — we’re going to remain below freezing for the next 10 days,” Mattice said. The snowfall is good news for skiers and other winter-activity enthusiasts, he said.

Runners and revelers in Oneonta are in for cold, possibly snowy weather today.

Late Sunday afternoon, the NWS in Binghamton said today’s forecast in the Oneonta and Cooperstown area calls for mostly cloudy skies with a chance of snow showers this afternoon and high temperatures in the lower 30 degrees. The cloudy forecast continues for tonight, with a 40 percent chance of snow showers and highs in the mid-20 degrees.

The Oneonta Family YMCA Frost Bite 5K Fun Run will start near the Foothills Performing Arts and Civic Center on Market Street at 1 p.m. today and end at the YMCA on Ford Avenue.

First Night Oneonta’s parade downtown parade at 4 p.m. will be followed by a host of activities, concerts and other performances tonight. Fireworks will be at 10:15 p.m.

In Oneonta, trucks were distributing salt onto city streets Sunday, police said, and major streets had been plowed. No cars were towed off of the streets to accommodate plowing, Sgt. Ralph Pajerski said Sunday.

“Everybody was excellent about keeping their cars off the streets,’’ he said.

Last winter was “very, very mild,’’ Mattice said, and precipitation yielded 11 inches of snow in January and 7.7 inches in February, then 8.9 inches in March.

Ernest Mahlke of Laurens said he and his wife, Heide, spent about an hour Saturday cross-country skiing in nearby Gilbert Lake State Park. They didn’t go cross-country skiing last winter after having been out 27 times in a two-month period the previous winter, said Mahlke, an art professor who retired from the State University College at Oneonta.

“We’re so pleased to see snow again,” he said Sunday. “We’ll try to go every day.’’

Mahlke is among members of the Susquehanna Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club who lead hiking and other trips, such as skiing and snowshoeing in local parks, on Tuesdays.

Being outdoors in the snow and cross-country skiing is invigorating, Mahlke said.

“It’s one of the things that makes winter worth being here,’’ he said. “It’s wonderful.’’