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Snowstorm welcomed by students

times staff writer
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A strong storm system that dumped a foot or more of snow on parts of the north country gave many kids their first snow day of the season on Tuesday.
“It’s been a combination of snow from the storm and lake effect,” said David R. Thomas, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, Buffalo. The system has been “enhancing the lake effect.”
There usually are only a couple of storms of this magnitude each year, Mr. Thomas said.
Based on 48-hour snowfall totals given by National Weather Service spotters in the north country, snowfall varied greatly from Sunday to Tuesday:
n Watertown: From 3 to 5 inches fell. More snow fell to the east of the city. Seven inches was recorded in Carthage in that 48-hour period.
n Harrisville: About a foot of snow was recorded.
n Edwards: About 6 inches fell.
Other parts of the north country likely will see more than a foot by time the storm system leaves, Mr. Thomas said. A heavy band hanging over the region on Tuesday was producing snow at a rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour.
Watertown City School District Superintendent Terry N. Fralick made the decision between 5 and 5:30 a.m. Tuesday to delay the start of the school day after consulting with a meteorologist and district transportation officials. Once the storm intensified, he decided to close schools.
In Jefferson County, the Belleville Henderson, Carthage, Indian River and South Jefferson districts were closed, as were Immaculate Heart Central School and Faith Fellowship Christian School.
In Lewis County, the Beaver River and Copenhagen school districts closed Tuesday, and in St. Lawrence County, the Clifton-Fine, Colton-Pierrepont, Edwards-Knox, Parishville-Hopkinton and Gouverneur districts closed.
Owner Timothy L. McAtee plans to open Dry Hill Ski Area on Saturday. The ski area has piles of manmade snow, which Mr. McAtee has been making since Friday. But getting a base of that snow that is 2 to 3 feet deep takes a lot of work; it must be leveled out and cured. The whole process from making snow to getting it ready for people to ski usually takes about a week, Mr. McAtee said.
“For the past two weekends, I’ve gone to bed on Friday night thinking we were going to get a lot of snow, and last night I wasn’t expecting much and we’re up to about a foot now,” Mr. McAtee said. “This is a crazy business.”
The snow should taper off today, and sunshine should be returning briefly on Thursday. But snow will return by the weekend. The snow should be lighter on Friday, and get heavier as the days proceed.
“Friday, we’ll see light snow across the region from a quick-moving storm system that should produce minor accumulations of 1 to 3 inches across the north country,” Mr. Thomas said. “Sunday, we’re looking at a more significant storm system. The track is uncertain, but it could bring possible sleet and freezing rain before changing over to all snow overnight Sunday.”

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