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October 14, 2013

Some locals getting a jump on winter prep

By Denise Richardson Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — Temperatures outside may be delightful, but the warm autumnal weather will end.

The question is when, and some area residents aren’t waiting until a cycle of cold days to prepare for winter.

“You know it’s coming,” Jim Nering of Masonville said Sunday after loading 200 pounds of wood pellets into his truck at Home Depot in Oneonta. The heater has been turned on at night and off in the morning, Nering said, and he has ordered 6 tons of pellets for his stove for this winter.

Customers at Home Depot and Lowe’s, another home improvement and supply store in Southside Oneonta, have been looking into products to winterize and heat homes, managers said. 

Timber, insulation and window-weatherization kits are among products in demand, as well as yard clean-up supplies, Rebecca Scribani, an operations manager at Home Depot, said. Some models of portable heaters have sold out, she said, and customer requests for winter-related items will increase as temperatures drop, which could happen later this week.

Nancy Elliott of Maryland said the pre-winter to-do list includes having the furnace and snow-blower serviced. Autumn projects continue, including raking leaves and cleaning out gutters, she said after shopping at Home Depot.

“We just mowed the lawn,” Elliott said. “I’m not going to complain.”

High temperatures today, Tuesday and Wednesday are forecast to be in the 60s, with showers possible today and Wednesday, in the Oneonta and Cooperstown area, according to the National Weather Service in Binghamton. Low temperatures will be in the 40s. 

Temperature highs for days later this week are forecast to be in the 50s, the NWS said. 

Brian Goodspeed of West Oneonta said his current contracting project is fixing doors to a basement. At home, two storm doors will be installed, among other winterizing tasks, he said Sunday.

And at Thetford’s Body Shop and Towing in Oneonta, he and other employees are preparing trucks for the expected higher demands of winter, “so when the phone rings, we can respond,” Goodspeed said.

Several area residents shopping at Home Depot wished aloud for a mild winter. However, seasonal forecasts for winter, though mixed, have agreed on cold as a descriptor. 

In the Binghamton region, winter will be colder and drier than normal, with the coldest periods in early and late December, early January, and early February, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac website. Snowfall will be near normal in the north and above normal in the south, with the snowiest periods in early November and in mid- and late February. recently forecast seasonal highlights, saying that in the East, winter weather lovers, “will have to be patient this year,” because the start of the season,  “won’t pack a punch in terms of cold or snowfall.” 

Winter will begin mildly, with a long duration of above-normal temperatures, the website said, and a snow system and some chilly air could come at times during November.

Meanwhile, the Farmers’ Almanac has forecast a bitterly cold and snow-filled winter in most of New York. 

On Sunday in Oneonta, Randy Persons, and his son Daryl, 9, of New Berlin, were loading lumber into a truck at Home Depot. Persons said they are rebuilding a roof on their home.

“I’m hoping we have a mild winter like we have in these last few years,” Person said. The family has yet to replenish the split wood supply for the heating stove, he said, but hay is in for the two horses on their small farm.

Ken Smith of Stamford, co-owner of Catskill Craftsmen, is installing a wood furnace to reduce heating costs at his business. Winter preparations also include puttin a roof on a garage at a rental property, he said.

“I’m hoping for a mild winter,” Smith said.

David Pierce, an assistant manager at Lowe’s, said customers aren’t shopping right now for too much for winter-related supplies because of the recent nice weather. However, some die-hards are checking out snow-blowers, heating products, such as pellets, and materials to repair existing stoves, he said, and demand will change as winter approaches.

“They all know it’s coming,” Pierce said.