WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — It will be a holiday weekend the North Country will never forget.
The massive winter storm that hit a large portion of the country, and parts of southern Ontario dumped feet of snow on cities such as Buffalo and Watertown.
Many services, organizations and businesses were forced to shut down before the holidays due to dangerous road conditions and an eventual travel ban.
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Sergeant Ben Timerman said that road conditions throughout the weekend were beyond dangerous.
“Pretty much everyone was getting stuck,” Sgt. Timerman explained. “Even our own deputies were getting stuck in the snow.
By Sunday, the Sheriff’s Office and first responders resorted to snowmobiles to rescue those stuck on the roads.
“We had several hundred calls for vehicles that were stranded,” Timerman added. “There were dozens, if not hundreds of people that were taken out of their vehicles and taken to warming shelters to make sure they were alright.
No injuries related to the storm were confirmed.
But, after five days of blizzard conditions that turned to lake-effect snow by the Christmas holiday, communities are trying to recover.
“It’s Christmas week and it’s usually one of the busiest weeks of the year for us and we had to close,” Leo Coleman, whose family owns two restaurants in Watertown said. “I believe 1 p.m. on Friday, you guys were spot on with the weather, and it’s just the blizzard came across and we’ve been closed ever since.”
Throughout the city on Tuesday following the storm, homeowners and plow crews could be seen in nearly every driveway, working to catch up to the mountains of snow.
“It’s just continuous,” Lee Burke, who is a Fort Drum soldier shared. “Tired of coming out here, over and over, 2 or 3 times a day to clear the driveway and shovel the rest.”
Road conditions began improving Monday night as crews continued to work, but many buildings and facilities remained buried under over four feet of snow.
“You may turn a corner and find a road that hasn’t been plowed, but for the most part, you can get out on the roads,” Sgt. Timerman confirmed. “It’s just the cleanup game at this point.”
As of Monday, December 26, all travel advisories had been lifted in Jefferson County. However, caution is encouraged until road conditions improve.