Troopers say "dozens" of vehicles ran off state highways Tuesday

If Old Man Winter had been napping for a few days, he woke up with a vengeance Tuesday. The Finger Lakes region saw snow in the morning and early afternoon, followed by sleet and freezing rain throughout the day and into the evening — changing to regular rainfall as temperatures were expected to rise.

Dropping temperatures Wednesday morning were expected to cause a flash freeze.

This mix has made commutes treacherous and contributed to accidents throughout the region, as well as cancelling evening events at schools, churches and other institutions around the area, such as Richmond's Town Board meeting scheduled for Tuesday night.

Among Tuesday's accidents were a tractor trailer tanker carrying milk that tipped over at the intersection of Route 488 and Freshour Road early Tuesday afternoon, with Hopewell firefighters dispatched for the accident around 12:20 p.m. No other vehicles were traveling through the intersection at the time, and the driver was unhurt.

State troopers said "dozens" of vehicles ran off state highways, mostly interstates, on Tuesday.

"The slush will grab them so fast, before they realize what's happening, and just pull them off the road," declared Livingston County Deputy John Morgan.

Morgan professed frustration over the surge in accidents.

"People forget in a hurry how to drive in this type of weather," he exclaimed. "When we have the nicer weather, they can cruise the roads, speed limit and everything else, and then all of a sudden you get this type of weather. You have to slow down."

Joe Defina's car careened off I-390 and ended up mangled against a wire highway fence. "I felt scared. I thought ... I actually thought 'this is it!'" said the Henrietta resident. "I was going pretty slow. Tried to get over and, next thing I know, sssssssliding, sliding."

A winter storm warning is in place for Yates and Seneca counties from 3 a.m. Tuesday through 7 a.m. Wednesday, with a winter weather advisory in place for the rest of Western New York from 3 a.m. Tuesday through 4 a.m. Wednesday.

Wednesday will also be marked by gusty winds on the back side of the low-pressure area bringing us this messy weather. Gusts at times could be up to 48 mph by midday before conditions taper off by evening.

A high wind advisory is in place until 10 p.m. Wednesday. Do not expect power outages, but winds could be high enough to knock down tree limbs and blow around snow reducing visibility at times.

As well, the National Weather Service out of Buffalo forecasts a 50 percent chance of snow showers Wednesday, becoming increasingly more likely as the evening progresses — with the winds creating the hazard of blowing snow. Thursday brings a slight chance of snow showers and a likelihood of night rain, which should continue into Friday, notes the NWS. Saturday thus far looks to be free of precipitation, but mostly cloudy, according to current prognostications.