CHENANGO COUNTY — Thousands of Chenango County residents woke up without power this morning after the anticipated winter storm rolled through last night. As of 10 a.m., NYSEG reports that more than 15,000 customers are without electricity in Chenango County.
According to City of Norwich Fire Department Chief Jan Papelino, 27 line trucks from various power companies are preparing to be dispatched throughout the county to restore power to residents.
Snow continues to pelt the area, and Chenango County Board of Supervisors Chairman George Seneck declared a state of emergency and travel ban for non-essential personnel in Chenango County, effective at 5 a.m. and until further notice.
“The County’s Emergency Management Office continues to monitor the storm closely and our public works crews and local law enforcement will make every effort to keep roads passable and safe, but we need all residents to stay off the roads during the state of emergency,” said Seneck. “I encourage residents to check in on their neighbors, particularly senior citizens, during the storm.”
The National Weather Service (NWS) Binghamton location issued a winter storm warning for Chenango County on Monday, April 18, beginning at 6 p.m. and running until 12 p.m. today. The warning predicted five to 11 inches of snow, at a rate of one to three inches per hour.
The winter storm warning is still in effect, and more snow is on the way. According to the NWS, "snowfall rates will be as high as one to three inches per hour early this morning before tapering off by the late morning hours."
A wind advisory has also been issued for the county, and will bring west winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour (mph), with gusts up to 40 mph. The advisory will be in effect from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. this evening, and warns that unsecured objects could be picked up by the winds, and that tree limbs could be knocked down more easily due to the weight of the snow, which could result in further power outages.
The City of Norwich is expected to be hit with a "band of heavy snow" as well, according to a special weather statement issued by the NWS at 6:58 a.m. The statement reads the expected snowfall "can rapidly reduce visibility to less than a quarter of a mile. This band of heavy snow is producing very heavy snow at the rate of one to two inches per hour."
"The snow will accumulate so rapidly that it will be extremely difficult for the road crews to keep the roads clear," the statement warns. "Conditions can deteriorate rapidly in winter weather situations. Be prepared for snow or ice covered roads. Slow down and allow extra time to reach your destination."
According to the Chenango County Emergency Management Office, local fire departments as well as county and local highway departments are hard at work attempting to clear roadways of snow.
“This is a dangerous storm and we encourage all residents to stay off the roads,” said Chenango County Office of Emergency Services Director Matthew L. Beckwith. “We expect conditions to continue to deteriorate through the morning, making travel on the roadways dangerous. We are also very concerned about additional power outages as winds continue to increase throughout the morning and into the afternoon.”
Power outages and downed power lines can be reported to NYSEG 800-572-1131. According to the NYSEG Storm Safety page on their website, individuals should "avoid downed power lines. Even lines that appear dead can be deadly."
The page also explains that after power is restored, homeowners should "turn on appliances and sensitive electronic equipment one at a time to avoid overloading your circuits," and to "replenish emergency supplies used during the storm."
Updates on the winter storm and road conditions in Chenango County can be found by calling 607-336-TOGO (8646). To register for email, text, or phone call alerts about hazardous weather and emergencies, visit notifychenango.com.