Lake-effect storm

Old Man Winter is roaring at Chautauqua County’s door. The snow and cold temperatures have hit the area. Wintry conditions and wind caused several periods of whiteout conditions throughout the area Monday. The weather also caused several accidents throughout the area, including a six-car pileup on the New York State Thruway.

The accident on the Thruway near the Chautauqua-Erie county border caused a 13-mile stretch of highway to be closed. According to State Police, the accident, at milepost 454.5 near the Silver Creek exit, occurred shortly before 4:30 p.m. and involved five passenger vehicles and a tractor trailer.

The accident caused both westbound lanes to close and three people were transported to Lake Shore Hospital for minor injuries. While the accident was cleared, traffic on the I-90 West was diverted to the Eden/Angola exit. The Thruway was closed from Exit 57A to Exit 58 while crews worked to remove the wreckage. Shortly after 6 p.m. the lanes were open from the accident westbound and just after 6:30 p.m. all lanes were reopened. The I-90 West was also closed at the Pennsylvania border due to wintry conditions. All traffic was detoured to Route 20 in Ripley.

Many police agencies reported other accidents across the area. The Fredonia Police Department reported three weather related property damage accidents. They reported no injuries in connection to those accidents. The Sheridan Fire Department and New York State Police responded to a rollover on Route 5 in the town of Sheridan. The Dunkirk Police Department issued a travel advisory for no unnecessary travel within the city at 4 p.m. Monday. The advisory had been lifted by 8 p.m.

“We’re advising no unnecessary travel until the weather clears within the city,” Desk Sgt. Dan Manzella of Dunkirk Police said of the advisory being issued.

The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office has been busy with weather related incidents. According to the dispatch center, a portion of I-86 was closed for a three-vehicle accident and parts of Route 430 was also closed due to a tractor trailer which had jack knifed. The dispatch office has also responded to numerous calls for vehicles off the road. There were no reports of serious injuries.

Director of Chautauqua County Emergency Services Julius Leone said that there was not too many other problems among the county. Leone noted that people are taking it slow on the roads or even staying home in the weather.

“It’s just some slow going and some cancellations,” he said.

The snow will continue today. According to the National Weather Service, a lake effect snow warning has been issued countywide until tonight at 7 o’clock. According to Jeff Wood, meteorologists, between five and nine inches will be expected today with an inch or less of accumulation more overnight. Between five and nine inches fell Monday.

“(Snow) will be widespread around the county,” Wood said. “The highest amount will be across the (Chautauqua) County Ridge.”

Along with the snow, residents will have to face bitter temperatures. A wind chill advisory has been issued from 1 until 9 a.m. today. Winds are expected to be between 15 and 25 mph causing the severe wind chill temperatures.

As of 7 p.m. Monday evening, Ripley had a foot of snow which fell in the span of three and a half hours. The town of Perrysburg in Cattaraugus County had 10 inches of snow since 7 a.m. Monday – five inches of which fell between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.

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