Interstate 81 closed from Brewerton to Watertown due to storm

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo today (Jan. 6) declared a state of emergency for numerous counties including Oswego County as a major winter storm has moved from the Midwest into Western New York and the Tug Hill Plateau region of the state.

The State of Emergency covers the following counties: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Jefferson, Lewis, Livingston, Monroe, Oneida, Orleans, Oswego, Wayne and Wyoming.

He also said Interstate 81 between Exits 31-45 (Brewerton to Arsenal Street-Watertown-Sackets Harbor) will be closed to all traffic tonight at 8 p.m.

Oswego County Emergency Management issues safety guidelines for winter storm

From Oswego County Emergency Management:

With the impending lake effect snowstorm forecast for the Tug Hill region in Oswego County Monday afternoon through Wednesday, Oswego County Director of Emergency Management Dale A. Currier reminds local residents to use extreme caution while traveling in inclement weather.

Emergency response agencies including fire, emergency medical services, law enforcement and highway are gearing up as the National Weather Service-Buffalo Forecast Office forecast indicates for heavy lake effect snow for the northern section of the county along with extreme cold and a wind chill warning. The National Weather Service indicates this is a potentially dangerous situation with up to 4 inches of snow falling an hour in the most persistent bands, compounded by winds of 20 to 30 hours an hour.

“There will be zero visibility due to the blowing snow and dangerously cold wind chills of -20 degrees F,” Currier said.

“People should be very aware of their surroundings and avoid travel in heavy snow whenever possible,” Currier continued. “The NWS is forecasting frequent whiteout conditions due to heavy lake effect snow and considerable blowing and drifting snow. If you must travel, tell someone when you’re going and when you expect to reach your destination. Carry a cellular phone. Clear your vehicle completely of snow and ice, and always match your speed to road conditions.”

People should carry a car kit in their vehicle at all times, Currier said. The kit should include blankets, a shovel, flashlight and extra batteries, extra warm clothing, set of tire chains, battery booster cables, quick energy foods, and brightly colored cloth to use as a distress flag. “Make sure your gas tank is full to prevent gasoline freeze-up,” Currier said.

“Always check the weather forecast and road conditions before going out,” Currier stressed. “In lake effect snow the weather can vary from locally heavy snow in narrow bands to clear skies just a few miles away. Be prepared for rapid changes in road and visibility conditions.”

For anyone who must go outside in extreme winter conditions, Currier said, tips to follow include dressing for the cold and slowing down when working outside.

“Wear loose, lightweight, warm clothing in several layers,” he said. “Trapped air between the layers acts as an insulator. Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellent and hooded. Always wear a hat and gloves or mittens, and cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from extreme cold. With the wind chills forecast over the next couple of days, frostbite can occur to exposed skin within minutes.”

Cold temperatures can put extra strain on the heart when doing heavy tasks such as shoveling snow, clearing debris or pushing a car. “Stay warm, dress warm, and slow down when working outside,” Currier said. “Take frequent rests to avoid overexertion. If you feel chest pain, stop and seek help immediately.”

People should also follow common sense when operating a snow blower. “Never leave your snow blower running and unattended, and never put your hands into the discharge chute or augers to clear stuck snow and ice,” Currier stressed. “Never add fuel when the engine is running and hot. Make sure you know how to turn the machine off quickly.

“Lake effect snow and extreme cold are nothing new to Oswego County residents,” Currier said. “If people follow common sense safety precautions, they can minimize the impact on their lives.”

More information is available by visiting the Oswego County website at www.oswegocounty.com/emo. Oswego County is a NWS StormReady Community and has multiple methods of receiving and disseminating hazardous weather information.

2 Oswego High band members perform at All-American Bowl

Check out this video of the 2014 U.S. Army All-American Marching Band halftime performance at the All-American Bowl Game played Saturday, Jan. 4 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

This marching band of 125 members features the top high-school seniors in the nation selected through audition by the NAfME (National Association for Music Education) and the U.S Army Field Band for brass, woodwind, percussion (battery and ensemble) and color guard. Included in the group were Cassandra Hondro and Emily King of Oswego High School. Hondro plays piccolo and and King plays trumpet.

Game results – West beats East 28 – 6.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbXwZmKEzG4

Thruway closes from Buffalo to Pennsylvania line

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo today (Monday, Jan. 6) announced that parts of the New York State Thruway in Western New York will be closed due to extreme winter weather conditions.

The Thruway between Exit 55 (Route 219/Lackawanna/Springville/Orchard Park/West Seneca) and Exit 61 (Shortman Road, Ripley) will be closed to commercial vehicles at 3PM today. Starting at 8 PM, all vehicles traveling westbound on the Thruway will be detoured off the roadway at Exit 50 (I-290 west), and all eastbound traffic will be detoured off at Exit 61 (Shortman Road, Ripley).

In addition, the State Emergency Operations Center will open at 8 tonight based on the forecasted winter weather conditions in Buffalo and Western New York.

The closure is a precautionary measure due to an extraordinary winter weather event that is forecast to include 36 inches of snow in the coming day-and-a-half, lake effect snows in some areas up to four inches per hour, wind gusts up to 40 mph and wind chill temperatures as low as 40 degrees below zero. The Thruway in this area will be reopened when conditions allow.

FULTON FAMILIES: A school of fish: The Westons just keep swimming

The favorites – Bob Weston used to tell each of his three daughters — Cindy, Alison and Kelly — that she was his favorite. It wasn’t until later that they found out they were all his favorites.  Photo courtesy of the Weston family
The favorites – Bob Weston used to tell each of his three daughters — Cindy, Alison and Kelly — that she was his favorite. It wasn’t until later that they found out they were all his favorites.
Photo courtesy of the Weston family

Editor’s note: This is the fourth installment of stories about Fulton Families. The monthly series tells the stories of families that have either lived in Fulton for ages or perhaps only a short while — but the common bond is that they love the city and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. If you know of a family we should highlight, please email Debbie Groom, Valley News managing editor, at dgroom@scotsmanmediagroup.com.

By Ashley M. Casey

It’s well past Christmas, but Bob and Sandy Weston’s tree is still decked out in the living room. It’s not a Christmas tree anymore, though — it’s a celebration tree.

“The bulbs come down (and) we put pictures, we put cards, birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations, any kind of card that we get from friends and from family we put on the tree,” Bob said. Continue reading

A Sportman’s World, by Leon Archer

By Leon Archer

This has been a great winter so far for Florida.

The Sunshine State has been getting big numbers of people trying to escape the cold and snow of the frozen north; In fact, they have been getting record numbers.

Motels, hotels and resorts have been putting out ‘no vacancy’ signs on a regular basis. The number of people getting out of the cold on a permanent basis is on the rise as well. Florida’s population has inched closer to that of New York’s.

A lot of us northerners like to take our fishing tackle with us and spend some time trying to come up with the makings of a fresh fish fry. Party boats and charter boats do a brisk business, but not like they would have been doing if Florida’s fishing regulations were a little more tourist friendly.

Party boat captains are able to find plenty of fish for their customers, but many of those fish, especially the most desired species, are off limits during the winter tourist season and have to be released.

The state regulations provide the wonderful gag grouper (don’t let the name put you off, you’ll never gag when you catch one or when you eat one) and the red snapper with full protection along the Florida Atlantic Coast between December and May. That takes the two major targets off the table right through the party boat’s best season.

I haven’t been out on a Florida party boat in the last six or seven years, and I’ve only been out on one charter boat during that time. I used to go several times a year.

I enjoyed fishing for bottom fish, but I also liked to bring a few fish in with me even if their fillets ended up being pretty expensive after paying my fare on the boat.

The odds of bringing a dinner in these days have gotten a lot longer. The only bright spot is the state has decided to allow fishermen to take black sea bass this year even though the limit is a lot smaller than it used to be.

Personally, I prefer to just fish on the Indian River or off some of the ocean piers. The chance of catching large fish in the river isn’t great, and in the section near Sebastian, the odds of catching anything isn’t great either.

But from Vero Beach south, the river is still fairly decent fishing. That’s where I’ll put my efforts when I’m in Florida.

If you are thinking of visiting Florida this winter and want to do some fishing, don’t despair. Check with the local bait shops and get some advice about where to fish and what to use.

Those shop owners are probably the best source you can find, unless you have a native to show you the ropes. If you see people fishing from a bridge or a pier, stop for a bit. Watch what they are doing, what they are using for bait, and what they are catching.

Then you can visit with some of them if they are willing to share, and most are. Those are two ways that I have learned a lot of what I know about Florida fishing.  Watch and learn.

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