The lake-effect squalls that have buried parts of upstate New York in nearly 12 feet of snow finally ended Monday, leaving road crews with the task of clearing snow piled as high as street signs.
The squalls pushed along the shore of eastern Lake Ontario, leaving behind up to three inches of new snow before tapering off. Forecasters warned that another storm system was on the way.
Redfield received 11 feet, 9 inches of snow, but residents were unfazed in a community where the economy thrives on snowmobilers and cross-country skiers. The area receives an annual average of more than 22 feet.
“It’s not really anything we’ll get excited about,” Town Clerk Elaine Verdon said. “It’s not an unusual amount. It’s just unusual that it fell in such a short period of time.”
The town of Parish received 10 feet, while nearly 9 feet fell in the communities of Mexico and Osceola.
A winter storm watch was posted in all of western and central New York for Tuesday night and Wednesday as a new storm approached from the Midwest. Forecasters said it could bring 8 to 20 inches of snow to upstate New York.
“Unfortunately, they’re not going to get much of a breather,” said Tom Niziol, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Buffalo.
In Redfield, officials don’t have to worry about snow removal.
“Out here, we’ll just leave it in piles and wait for it to melt. It’s not like a city where it would be in someone’s way,” Verdon said.
But for larger communities, clearing the snow is more of a challenge. State officials have given some highway departments permission to dump the snow in open water if necessary. Other towns haul it to a central location.
“There’s just too much snow to leave in place. It makes it dangerous to walk and to drive,” said Oswego Mayor Randy Bateman.
In Oswego, which received 85 inches, the city carts snow to a two-acre reservoir, where it’s piled into one big mound. Last year, the pile did not entirely melt until July.
“With all the snow we’ve gotten, that snow mound might be there all summer into next winter,” Bateman quipped.