weather

Downed trees from ice storm will be turned into energy

Jan 22, 2014
Joanna Richards / WRVO

All the power lines have been fixed after last month’s ice storm, and the crystal coatings have melted off the trees, but there’s still a persistent sign of the damage: lots of downed limbs.

Yards in the northern half of Jefferson County are full of tangled branches, sunk in the snow. Extricating them is going to be a long process, but there’s a plan in the works to give them a new life as fuel.

Carlet Cleare/WXXI

In his annual State of the State address Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined a major initiative to ramp up New York’s capacity for dealing with natural disasters.

Part of the multi-million dollar proposal involves installing a state-of-the-art weather detection system to provide more accurate, real time warnings.

Jennifer Gaffney

Travelers got back on the road yesterday afternoon after Interstate 81 reopened following the massive snowfall. Many spent an unexpected night in the north country – some in hotels, some in fire halls, some in the homes of strangers. The experience might have been a lousy advertisement for the climate here, but natives seemed to be at their best as Good Samaritans during the storm.

Catherine Loper / WRVO

The last portions of Route 81 between Watertown and North Syracuse are open again, after lake-effect storms closed much of the highway down.

Through the storms, hardy North Country natives have been helping stranded travelers. Many people spent last night in fire halls - the one in Adams took in 150 people. Watertown hotels right off the Interstate 81 exit were full, of both drivers and staff who couldn't get out, either.

Sarah Crisafulli

The lake effect snow warning for northern New York has been extended until Thursday at 1 p.m. as upwards of four feet of snow has fallen in some spots since Monday. A state of emergency remains in effect for 14 counties, including Oswego, Jefferson and Lewis Counties.

Forecasters predicted snow to fall at a rate of two to three inches an hour Wednesday morning in an area in the Tug Hill area.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

More than 200 National Guard members have been called on to help parts of New York dig out of the blizzard and frigid temperatures, but roll call was all volunteer.

Twenty members of the 174th Air National Guard Wing based in Syracuse signed up to bundle up and join units from Niagara Falls, Utica and Buffalo to respond to the blizzard that hit western and northern New York this week.

Catherine Loper/WRVO

Pounding snow in the North Country and bitterly cold temperatures across the state will around for at least one more night.

Government officials in New York state from the governor on down are urging residents in parts of northern, central and western New York to stay indoors as lake effect snow, wind chill advisories and frigid temperatures are causing dangerous conditions.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO file photo

Bitterly cold temperatures, strong winds and heavy lake effect snow is causing travel problems and school closings and delays around the region late Monday and Tuesday. 

Durrie Lawrence/WRVO File Photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the worst of the winter storm is now over, but New Yorkers now face another challenge -- extreme cold.

In a conference call with reporters, Cuomo says the storm, which dropped several inches of snow, is moving east and out of New York.

“Mother nature has moved on, somewhat,” Cuomo said.

And he says all roads are now open. Cuomo defended his decision to close parts of the New York State Thruway, the Long Island Expressway, and I-84 overnight.

Cold weather grips central, northern New York

Jan 2, 2014
Loren Sztajer / Flickr

Much of central New York is under a winter storm warning until tomorrow morning. Snow will fall heavily at times around the region, with the heaviest of the snow falling from Syracuse south. Six to 12 inches of snow is possible around central New York by tomorrow with lesser amounts to the north.

In addition to the snow, the region will be facing bitterly cold temperatures. Wind chill advisories are posted for the region through tomorrow morning.

Jenna Flanagan/Innovation Trail

The winter months can pose a headache for drivers navigating the roads after a snow storm. Plowing can only do so much and too often a slick, hard pack of snow and ice can cover streets making them dangerous to drive.

So what are road crews trying now? Beet juice.

It’s not used everywhere, but it is catching on. The New York State Thruway Authority is one of several state agencies pre-treating and treating roads with and mixture of beet juice extract and brine water.

Joanna Richards

The lights are coming back on in Jefferson County after the ice storm left most residents in the dark for some period over the weekend. National Grid says it expects to restore power to nearly all customers by midnight tonight.

Sixteen-hundred field workers from as far away as New Jersey and the Ohio Valley are helping to make that happen. Despite the progress, the utility says some customers could be in the dark through Christmas.

North Country scraping its way out of blanket of ice

Dec 23, 2013
Joanna Richards

Updated at 3:40 p.m.

Storms and Wildlife

Dec 17, 2013

John Weeks tells us about the signs of winter we can find so early on. Sitting at the shore on Lake Ontario he is able to define trends with only one week of winter to go by. Wildlife is remarkably good at giving signs of the weather that will soon approach and John Weeks discusses them.

This episode of Nature of Things was originally aired December 23rd, 1990.

John Weeks discusses deep winter weathers that arrive around times of the year like this one. Animals have to face severe conditions to survive in these cold harsh winters. The sub-freezing temperatures characterize the weather conditions upstate New York. Seasonal shedding is an annoyance to pet owners but it is an adaption to this weather. Wild animals find way to adapt to the weather too. Just like we have clothing that helps us adapt to weather, animals too have natural adaptions to weather that help them prepare for the seasons to come.

Reading the Message

Dec 4, 2013

This archived broadcast was from September 11, 1987. John Weeks talks about the journey across the seasons. He talks about the weather and the different animals and plants that are around during the different seasons.

Will Merydith / via Flickr

Snow plows in central New York are already out treating roads ahead of the double-digit snowfall expected to fall in the next 36 hours, which is coming at a bad time for travel. 

Onondaga County Transportation Commissioner Brian Donnelly said by nightfall his crews will be out in full force prepping roads. Snow and rain is expected to increase overnight and leave travelers for the Thanksgiving holiday with some hazardous conditions.

National Weather Service

Up to a foot of snow in parts of upstate New York will fall from Tuesday afternoon through Thursday morning, making travel for the Thanksgiving holiday slow and tricky.

When disaster strikes, like the heavy rainfall and floods in upstate New York in late June and early July, many people want to help their neighbors in need but don't know where to direct their volunteer efforts. Now, the American Red Cross has released a new mobile application that it hopes will solve that problem.

The Team Red Cross app is making disaster relief more accessible to communities. Chief Communications Officer Matt Michael says this will make a big difference in community response.

Zack Seward / WXXI

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday outlined the state's storm aid and recovery package for flooding that hit the Mohawk Valley and western New York late last month, saying the near constant stream of natural disasters that have hit the state in the past few years are draining state resources.

New York National Guard/flickr

New York state is stepping in where the federal government has not. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the state would come up with $16 million for people affected by the recent floods that ravaged the Mohawk Valley and other parts of New York state.

Cuomo told local officials at Herkimer County Community College that the state will fill the gap using federal rules to offer cash from state coffers to flood victims.

While parts of central and northern New York continue to rebuild following last month's massive flooding, Sen. Charles Schumer says there may be a reason the region is still waiting for federal disaster aid approval.

Yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he was not overly optimistic that Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, Funds will come through. Schumer said the amount of damage in the state is still being tallied.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Brian Reeves is plucking dead leaves off of pepper plants on his farm in Baldwinsville.

"If it keeps up, they will lose more and more leaves and you come back here in two weeks and it's like a stem with no leaves," he says. "It's just gone."

Low-lying spots in his fields are wetter than they should be with large puddles collecting in some areas. Crops trying to grow in those areas are showing signs of too much moisture - like dead leaves and disease.

It's a result of the wetter-than-average summer so far in upstate New York.

While the heavy rains in central and northern New York caused flooding last week, the region's state parks, for the most part, are up and running.

That's good news with the busy Independence Day holiday weekend upon us.

While a handful of state parks in central New York were forced to close their gates last week when heavy rains caused flooding, state parks office spokesman Randy Simons says all but one site has reopened.

The site that's still closed is the boat launch on Canadarago Lake in Otsego County.

Severe weather strikes central, northern New York

Jun 28, 2013
New York National Guard / via Flickr

As heavy rains continue to fall across much of New York, portions of the state have experienced flash flooding and rapidly rising rivers. Towns throughout central and northern New York are reporting rainfall ranging from a few to several inches. The village of Earlville, which straddles the Madison and Chenango County borders, reported receiving more than six inches by mid-morning.

According to Aaron Reynolds, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Buffalo, the rain is showing little sign of letting up.

The impact and severity of weather events like the tornado that hit Oklahoma City are increasing due to a changing global climate, according to research from the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Why low Lake Ontario levels mean high St. Lawrence levels

May 18, 2013
Photo courtesy New York Power Authority

For quite some time, the Great Lakes -- from Superior to Ontario -- have been at historically low water levels. So many people were surprised  this week that regulators are lowering the gates at the Iroquois Dam near Ogdensburg because the St. Lawrence River is too high.

John Weeks discusses the arrival of various bird species beginning in late February and continuing through the spring months. Migration timetables are rarely disrupted by fickle March weather.

Area ski resorts enjoy benefits of snowstorm

Feb 11, 2013

This season's snowfall has brought back revenue for many winter sports industries in central and northern New York, after last year's winter with lower than normal snow levels. Friday's snowstorm that blanketed the East Coast was beneficial to area ski resorts, including Greek Peak in Cortland County.

Durrie Lawrence/WRVO

There's been a lot of snow lately for snowmobilers around central New York, but last year's slow season has impacted funding for the clubs who maintain the trails.

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