Thursday, July 10, 2014

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Snow Slows Both Road and Air Travel

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Rochester: Snow Slows Both Road and Air Travel
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The roads went from clear to slick so fast, it caught some drivers off-guard.

"A little, yeah. Not as bad as quick, though,” said Robert Barlow, Canandaigua.

February in Rochester comes as no surprise to anyone. Certainly not the plow crews that try to stay on top of the storm, and certainly not those of us who have to drive the snow-slickened streets and expressways to get to where we need to go.

"They're very slick. Not a lot of traction right now. But if you go pretty slow they're okay,” Barlow said.

Staying on top of the storm comes easier with an extra set of eyes.

"We constantly monitor the weather here in this office, and then we can help deploy the snowplow trucks,” said Lori Maher, NYSDOT spokesperson.

In the case of the DOT, it is 52 extra eyes in the form of traffic cameras which hover above roads and intersections; monitored, at traffic headquarters on Scottsville Road.

"Having an eye on the expressway is extremely helpful to us, because we can identify any weather conditions and identify any problems with the traffic flow,” Maher said.

Plows can be dispatched more quickly to spots where they're needed. Extra help can be brought in, if conditions get really bad.

If you believe the weather man, we could have a foot of snow before it's all over. Still, the effects of the storm were already being felt before the first flakes even flew.

"There's a big backlog,” said Michael Giardino, Director of Aviation at the airport.

Rochester's airport resembled a ghost town. Flight cancellations began Thursday night. But noon, ninety percent of flights in and out of Rochester were grounded.

"We checked every 15 minutes online to make sure we were good, and started looking up alternate routes we could connect through,” said Betsy DeGroff.

The DeGroff's, of Auburn, were among the lucky ten percent. On to Florida, and a Disney cruise they booked a year ago.

"They're telling us it's a go. It's a full flight and the plane that's bringing us is on route right now from Atlanta."

"They're calling ahead or checking the web sites,” said Giardino.

Giardino says snowplow crews will work twelve hour shifts during the storm to clear runways for whatever air travel there is, and to be ready for when the storm stops.

“I think the airlines are being more proactive in putting crews and planes where they're needed most before the storm, or where they won't get stranded,” he said.

On a day like this, that's no guarantee – and that's no surprise, on a February day in Rochester.

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