by Matthew Rice
Winter reasserted its icy grip on the North Country as a major storm dropped more than a foot of a mixture of snow, sleet and freezing rain across the region knocking out power, closing schools and generally making getting to work Monday morning difficult for residents already tired of a long, long, snowy winter.
After two days of promising temperatures with highs Sunday topping 50 degrees the change-over forecasters warned about came to Granville in the early afternoon on the heels of gusty winds that knocked out power in spots across Washington County. New York State Gas and Electric Company workers responded to reports and had power restored to most customers before noon Monday, according to the company’s outage website.
Granville Police reported drivers getting stuck throughout the village but no serious accidents.
Firefighters were kept busy Sunday into Monday as basements in low lying areas of Granville began to fill up.
Granville Engine and Hose Co. No. 1 Chief Ryan Pedone said the company responded to five separate locations over the past 24 hours for ‘water emergencies’ to pump water from basements that threatened either electrical service or heating systems.
While the storm did not catch him surprise DPW superintendent Dan Williams said the overnight change into freezing rain did, resulting in the tough road conditions many found as they left, or tried to leave, for work Monday morning.
“We’re doing good right now, we’ve finally caught up with the snow,” Williams said just before 11 a.m.
“Last night we stopped plowing because it was supposed to be snow then about 3 a.m. it turned over to sleet,” he said. The crew stopped plowing last night about 9 p.m. and returned to start again at 5 a.m.
“We quit too early last night, if we knew (about the sleet and freezing rain) we would have stayed out later,” Williams said.
That wet, heavy mix of snow made clearing the roads difficult and added more difficulty to the task of cleaning up.
Williams said once the roads were cleared of snow, the mixture of sleet and freezing rain that fell before the snow was able to freeze, making the roads extremely slippery even for the big wing plow trucks.
Slick roads led to the decision to cancel school, meaning the district is out of snow days. Any additional days which must be taken will have to come off of the April break week school officials have said.
The combination of wet, heavy snow and slick roads kept the plow drivers on their toes as motorists were stuck throughout the village.
Some were unable to get out of their driveways and got stuck sticking out into the road, others made it to the road only to get stuck there.