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Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York

Snowfall causes accidents across NNY (VIDEO)

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Six to eight inches of snow fell throughout the north country Wednesday, stranding vehicles and causing at least 50 car accidents in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

While one weather advisory came to a close Wednesday night, another will quickly take its place.

Jefferson County was under a winter weather advisory and Lewis County was under a winter storm warning until 10 p.m. Wednesday, but the coast is not clear yet. A lake-effect snow watch goes into effect at 3 p.m. today until 4 a.m. Saturday, bringing with it the potential for a foot or more of snow in places.

Rapidly falling snow paired with low visibility led to a number of motor vehicle accidents across the north country Wednesday.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said it had responded to 19 accidents as of 8 p.m., and two others were handled by state police in Watertown. At least 8 inches of snow fell in Watertown, and an additional 2 inches was expected by this morning.

In Lewis County, the figure is a bit lower, as the county sheriff’s office reported that it had responded to nine accidents Wednesday, as of 8 p.m.

Though St. Lawrence County was not under a weather advisory or warning, parts of the county saw 5 to 6 inches of snow, and numerous motor vehicle accidents caused by poor weather were reported.

A total of 24 accidents were reported in St. Lawrence County Wednesday, including one Norfolk accident between a pickup truck and a beer truck that sent three men to Massena Memorial Hospital.

Norfolk Volunteer Fire Department Chief Greg Monroe said the accident occurred at approximately 6:50 a.m. on a bend in the road on Route 56 near the Parkway Express convenience store.

State police said a pickup truck driven by Kevin LaPage, 47, of Raymondville, entered the oncoming lane of traffic, striking the beer truck, driven by Randy McGregor, 53, of Raymondville, head on. The two drivers, as well as Andrew Phillips, 36, of Brasher Falls, a passenger in Mr. McGregor’s truck, were all transported to the hospital, where they were treated and released.

As a result, Route 56 from Route 310 to West Hatfield Street was closed for more than three hours so diesel fuel spilled on the road as a result of the accident could be cleaned up.

State Department of Environmental Conservation Spokesman Steven W. Litwhiler said approximately 30 gallons of diesel was spilled.

“The company hired Op-Tech (Op-Tech Environmental Services, Massena) to come and clean it up, and they were off the scene by 10:30 a.m.,” Mr. Litwhiler said.

No other significant injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents were reported in the area.

Johnson Newspapers writer Benny Fairchild contributed to this report.

To see video of the storm in Watertown, go to http://wdt.me/snow-0205

HOW TO BE SAFE OUT THERE
The Snow & Ice Management Association offers these tips:
• STAY ON TOP OF IT. Try to clear the snow every few inches instead of waiting until the end. n WEAR BREATHABLE LAYERS. Dress so that you can peel off a layer if you get hot. Avoid heavy materials that don’t allow perspiration to evaporate. n WATCH YOUR FEET. Waterproof boots, with good traction so you don’t slip and fall, are the best bet. n STRETCH FIRST. Shoveling snow is a workout, so begin by warming up your muscles to help prevent injury and fatigue. n PUSH, DON’T LIFT. If you push the snow to the side rather than trying to lift and remove it, you save energy and place less stress on your body. n DRINK UP. Stay hydrated and take frequent breaks. Drink water as if you were enduring a tough workout at the gym or running 5 miles. n DON’T PLAY IN TRAFFIC. When shoveling near streets, pay attention to your surroundings; vehicles may not have good traction in snow and ice. n CALL AND TEXT. Keep your cellphone on you so you can call for help if needed.
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