2014-02-13 / Front Page

Epic storm pounds county

Schools close again
Eric Gross

A Carmel municipal plow truck treks along a residential road Thursday afternoon as the snow continues to pile up. Photos by Eric Gross
A Carmel municipal plow truck treks along a residential road Thursday afternoon as the snow continues to pile up. Photos by Eric Gross Mother Nature continued to slam Putnam County and the entire lower Hudson Valley overnight with heavy wet snow bringing snow totals to a foot and a half in some areas.

The county experienced a smorgasbord of rain, sleet, lightning and thunder for a time Thursday night before the precipitation turned to snow for Round Two of what the National Weather Service called an “epic storm.”

All area public schools are again closed today including the Brewster, Carmel, Haldane, Mahopac, Putnam Valley, Pawling and North Salem districts. The Garrison District had scheduled a Superintendent’s Conference Day for faculty and staff which will take place starting two hours late. Children attending the Garrison School are excused for the day. The John F. Kennedy High School in Somers is also closed today along with the Lakeland District, Dutchess Community College and Westchester Community College.

Other school closings include the Hampton School, Kiwi School and Pine Grove Country Day School, all in Mahopac, St. Lawrence O’Toole School in Brewster and St. James School in Carmel.

Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES will operate on a two hour delay while the Somers and Yorktown Districts have three hour delays. Lincoln Hall in Somers and the Mizzentop Day School in Pawling will also operate on two hour delays.

All Putnam County governmental offices have been ordered closed today due to the slippery road conditions found on the county’s secondary roads. Originally, the facilities were to have opened two hours late but Deputy County Clerk Bruce Walker told the Courier and PCNR at 6 a.m. Friday: “Conditions are too dangerous!”

Putnam Area Rapid Transit (PART) has cancelled service for Friday.

All of Putnam’s senior citizens activities for Friday are cancelled as well including Adult Daycare, a Valentine’s Day party and senior nutrition sites in Carmel, Mahopac, Putnam Valley and Cold Spring.

Putnam Family and Community Services will be opening its Carmel clinic two hours later this morning and the Mahopac Public Library will be closed until 1 p.m.

Commuters are having a tough time on the roads and rails as well.

Road are messy and slippery, say police with all commercial traffic banned again  today on I-84 from the Putnam-Danbury border all the way to the New York-Pennsylvania border.

Metro North is operating on a Saturday schedule with 40 percent of its trains being used.

And Old Man Winter isn’t finished with his horrific winter of 2014—more snow is in the forecast for tomorrow and again on Monday.

Earlier story, 7:30 pm Thursday:

Highway crews got a well deserved break Thursday afternoon when snow changed to a light drizzle throughout most sections of the county.

However, the precipitation hiatus will be short lived as forecasters are predicting another 3-5 inch snowfall tonight into Friday morning.

Traffic throughout the region was lighter than usual for the day before Valentine’s Day with most shops closed and the few that remained open—virtually empty of customers.

Police said several skidding mishaps occurred but in Putnam County but not a single personal injury crash was reported. However, ambulance crews were kept busy responding to six calls for elderly individuals slipping and falling on snow and ice covered stoops and sidewalks.

Putnam County governmental officials announced at 5 p.m. that all governmental offices will have a delayed opening of two hours on Friday. Deputy County Clerk Bruce Walker said the added time would give “our highway crews time to ensure that not only are highways safe to navigate but that county office parking lots are clear of snow and ice.”

Putnam’s Transportation Supervisor Vincent Tamagna also announced that all Pre-kindergarten and Early Intervention transportation with the exception of Putnam Para-transit critical care medical appointments will be rescheduled for later in the day.

Putnam Area Rapid Transit (PART) will begin service at 1 p.m. with all morning bus runs cancelled.

All of Putnam’s senior citizens activities for Friday are cancelled as well, with the Office for the Aging opening on a two hour delay.

And Old Man Winter isn’t finished with his horrific winter of 2014—more snow is in the forecast for late Friday into Saturday.

Earlier story, 3:30 pm Thursday:

State Police have closed I-84 to commercial traffic from the Putnam-Danbury border all the way to the New York-Pennsylvania State line.

New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said the decision to close “one of the state’s busiest thoroughfares to truck traffic was not taken lightly but conditions on the roadway have deteriorated resulting in several jack-knifed tractor trailer rigs.” D’Amico said in the interest of public safety and “after consultation with the State DOT, it has become necessary for a ban to put be in place.”

The superintendent said no ban was being considered at the present time for cars, vans, SUVs and other passenger vehicles from I-84 but D’Amico urged motorists to drive “well below the posted 65mph speed limit.”

Earlier story, updated 1 pm

Snow continues to fall throughout the region with forecasters now predicting up to 18 inches on the ground in some sections of northern Putnam County before the monster event ends tomorrow morning.

Police on the state, county and town levels report “extremely light” traffic on area roads. Metro-North said just one-third of its customers took trains this morning.

"MTA Metro-North Railroad will begin hourly service at 4 p.m. today due to higher-than-predicted snow accumulations of up to 18 inches in its service territory. Metro-North may need to further reduce or suspend service on some portions of its territory if conditions warrant."

On the roads, there have been several spin-outs this morning but no major mishaps have been reported. The Putnam 9-1-1 Center has been exceptionally quiet for a major weather event.

“I guess people are heeding the warning and are staying off the roads, safe and sound in the confines of their homes,” said a veteran dispatcher.

Metro North is experiencing 30 minutes delays on both the Harlem and Hudson Lines with passenger traffic “far less than on a normal workday,” according to a railroad spokeswoman.

All schools throughout the region are closed today as are municipal buildings with all meetings and events scheduled for this afternoon and evening cancelled.

Forecasters are predicting a “warming trend” next week with daytime highs in the 40’s. Could this be the final storm of the area’s most severe winter in years? After all--spring is only one month away.

Earlier story, 6:20 am:

Carmel’s Granite Lady created by a European craftsman in 1950 and shipped to the USA where it has endured many winter storms over the years in Carmel is shrouded with snow.
Carmel’s Granite Lady created by a European craftsman in 1950 and shipped to the USA where it has endured many winter storms over the years in Carmel is shrouded with snow. Snow began falling at 2 a.m. throughout the region with Mother Nature’s latest blast of winter weather now forecast to dump more than 14 inches of heavy, wet snow on Putnam County.

The dangerous conditions have resulted in the cancellation of virtually all activities and the closing of schools.

In addition to the Brewster, Carmel, Garrison, Haldane, Mahopac and Putnam Valley Districts closing, the North Salem School District, Pawling School District, Lakeland School District, Yorktown District, Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES, St. James School in Carmel, St. Lawrence School in Brewster, Pine Grove, and Hampton Schools in Mahopac, Learning Center of Philipstown, Mizzentop Day School in Pawling, Dutchess and Westchester Community Colleges and Western Connecticut State University in Danbury are also closed.

Putnam Area Rapid Transit will not operate Thursday nor will the Putnam Office for the Aging Senior Nutrition Centers. All county operated facilities except for the Sheriff’s Department, Bureau of Emergency Services and the Putnam 9-1-1 Center will be closed Thursday.

The Carmel Town Hall, Brewster Village Hall, Southeast Town Hall, Putnam Valley Town Hall and Nelsonville Village Hall will also be shuttered during the storm.

Putnam Hospital Center Outpatient Rehabilitation Center will be closed as will the Veterans Outpatient Clinic in Carmel. Philipstown Recreation in Cold Spring will not operate today while the Kent and Patterson Libraries will be closed.

Metro North has called in more than 150 extra employees to handle snow removal on railroad platforms as well as to man special equipment needed to keep tracks clear. A spokesman Thursday morning said the railroad will operate on a “scaled back schedule with 75 percent of equipment being used based on projected lower ridership and railroad efforts to minimize the effects of the storm on equipment and infrastructure.”

Putnam Commissioner of Emergency Services Adam Stiebeling suggested that all residents refrain from “any unnecessary driving” on Thursday. “If an emergency exists, call 9-1-1,” he said.

Magoo—the Yorkshire terrier—woefully peers out his living room window Thursday sitting next to his Valentine’s Day heart querying: “Where is spring already?”
Magoo—the Yorkshire terrier—woefully peers out his living room window Thursday sitting next to his Valentine’s Day heart querying: “Where is spring already?” Earlier story, from Wednesday night:

Mother Nature’s latest blast of winter weather that is expected to dump upwards of 14 inches of snow on Putnam County Thursday has resulted in the cancellation of virtually all activities and the closing of schools.

Chief school officials in each of the area’s public schools held a conference call Wednesday evening and decided to cancel classes for Thursday.

In addition to the Brewster, Carmel, Garrison, Haldane, Mahopac and Putnam Valley Districts closing, the North Salem School District, Pawling School District, Lakeland School District, Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES, St. James School in Carmel, Mizzentop Day School in Pawling, Dutchess and Westchester Community Colleges and Western Connecticut State University in Danbury are also closed.

Putnam Area Rapid Transit will not operate Thursday nor will the Putnam Office for the Aging Senior Nutrition Centers. All county operated facilities except for the Sheriff’s Department, Bureau of Emergency Services and the Putnam 9-1-1 Center will be closed Thursday.

The Brewster Village Hall, Southeast Town Hall, Putnam Valley Town Hall and Nelsonville Village Hall will also be shuttered during the storm.

Putnam Hospital Center Outpatient Rehabilitation Center will be closed as will the Patterson Library.

Metro North has called in more than 150 extra employees to handle snow removal on railroad platforms as well as to man special equipment needed to keep tracks clear. A spokesman said the railroad will operate on a regular schedule as long as possible but if large amounts of snow fall as predicted, service may be scaled back.

Putnam Commissioner of Emergency Services Adam Stiebeling suggested that all residents refrain from “any unnecessary driving” on Thursday during the storm. “If an emergency exists, call 9-1-1,” he said.

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