Schools, many businesses were off because of the winter storm, which helped make roads safer

About a foot of snow fell in many areas of the Finger Lakes region Thursday night and Friday morning.

Here’s how much fell in Canandaigua Academy senior Ethan Owens’ yard — just the right amount. He and a fellow Boy Scout, Ben McMath, spent the afternoon Friday building a snow sculpture of the Statue of Liberty.

“We have a lot of snow to work with,” Ethan said.

And thanks to the storm, they had time to do it.

“We’re very thrilled to have snow,” Ben said. “And the day off.”

Many people had the day off Friday, which proved to be a huge help to emergency responders.

Ontario County sheriff’s deputies and other rescue crews had to deal with a few vehicles that slid off the road during the morning hours when the storm was at its peak periods.

But it could have been a lot worse, said Chief Deputy John Storer.

A heavy, wet snow began to fall Thursday night and continued throughout the early morning hours Friday and into the morning commute.

The Ontario County Sheriff’s Office, as did other offices in the region, on Thursday night issued an advisory urging no unnecessary travel.

All of the public schools canceled classes and activities Friday, and many of the parents also stayed home from work. Finger Lakes Community College also canceled classes and activities because of the weather.

“We had nothing compared to what we would have had if we had more people on the road,” Storer said.

Thousands of RG&E and NYSEG customers were without power at various times Friday. At approximately 6 a.m. more than 4,000 customers had lost service because of the storm, although the majority had it restored by 4 p.m.

Nearly 250 Ontario County residents were without power by 4 p.m., although that pales in comparison to Monroe County, where nearly 4,000 customers had no power.

Several people throughout the area saw trees, limbs and wires downed by a combination of the heavy, wet snow and high wind gusts.

Those same weather conditions are hampering the efforts of some 1,000 workers responding throughout the area, especially to hard-hit areas such as Wayne, Yates, Monroe and Livingston counties, according to statement from the power companies.

In many areas, the roads were not the issue. Richmond Town Councilman Steve Barnhoorn said town highway crews were right on top of snow removal, but on Friday afternoon he was fielding questions from residents about fallen trees.

According to the AccuWeather forecast for Canandaigua, high temperatures will reach the mid-30s Saturday and Sunday and move past the 40-degree mark on Monday, with rain in the cards.

And while Richmond has seen its share of spring flooding in recent years — and time, money and effort put in to alleviate those problems — many like Barnhoorn are worried about a quick thaw and its effect on homes and properties.

“That’s the $64,000 question,” Barnhoorn said.

Avoid downed wires

NYSEG has offered reminders of what to do about downed wires.

Stay at least 20 feet from a downed power line.

If a downed wire comes in contact with your vehicle, stay inside and wait for help. If you must get out because of fire or other danger, jump clear of the vehicle to avoid any contact with the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Land with your feet together and hop with feet together or shuffle away; don’t run or stride.

NYSEG customers should call 1-800-572-1131 to report downed power lines or other hazardous situations.