Old Man Winter still a guest in Harlem Valley

HARLEM VALLEY - When it comes to winter weather, Pine Plains town Supervisor Gregg Pulver does not mince words.


"It’s a pain in the neck, and you can quote me on that," Pulver said. "It’s starting to get old in a hurry and even the [highway crews] are starting to get tired of it."

Town highway departments have been dealing with heavy duty winter weather since December, which has caused slick road weather conditions and various fender benders.

According to weather.com, since winter began in December, the area has seen 7.19 inches of precipitation. This was as of Monday, Jan. 21.

However, according to WQQQ FM's meteorologist Bill Jacquemin, while some might see this winter as being heavy in precipitation, statistics show that the amount of winter weather this season has been normal.

"We really have not received a tremendous amount of winter weather," Jacquemin said. "It’s just that people have short-term memory when it comes to weather. We’ve had a roller coaster act with the warm then cold weather and people are sensitive to changes."

He said while last week’s temperatures were 8 degrees above normal in the area, this week calls for temperatures 8 degrees below normal.

"But we’re expected to have days like this," Jacquemin said. "It just seems like a shock to people. Most of the weather is judged by people’s perceptions."

Perception or not, Amenia Highway Superintendent Stanley Whitehead said this winter has been tough for the town.

"We started out with a huge pile of sand, about 2,000 yards, which has disappeared very fast," Whitehead said. "We probably have used half of it so far, but it’s hard to say. If it keeps going the way it has been going it’s going to be real close [to nothing]. This is the most the town has used in 14 years in both December and January."

Whitehead said because of this winter’s freeze to thaw weather conditions, the town has had to deal with severe mud problems on certain roads.

"We had to close Tower Hill, Deep Hollow and Huckleberry roads at certain points through the winter," he said. "We have spent $14,000 just on stone and materials to help deal with the mud on those roads. Right now we have them all in shape and they have reopened, but who knows, we might have another repeat soon. I wish I knew."

Millerton Mayor John Scutieri said the village’s sand pile has been holding up well.

"It’s kind of early to worry about having it run out," Scutieri said. "We over budgeted last year just to be safe because we knew last year was a rare year with the few storms we had. In my opinion, we have had an above average amount of ice and snow. But we’re still doing fine."

Scutieri said if the village runs out of sand, there is a contingent line on its budget that they can use to buy more.

"We have had a couple minor fender benders, but other than that the highway guys have been handling the storms quite well," he said. "We’re holding up, so far."

In North East, town Supervisor Dave Sherman said the sand shed is fully stocked.

"We are looking forward to being prepared for any weather coming our way," Sherman said. "But these freeze to thaw cycles have been really tough on the roads. Normally you have a cold winter and it stays frozen, but we have gotten really cold to mild periods where the frost comes out of the ground and it raises a lot of havoc."

North East Highway Superintendent Bob Stevens said sand storage capacity is a major concern for the town.

"We wish [the shed] could hold more," Stevens said. "The small storage capacity we have is not enough when you have back-to-back storms. We have been really busy."

Stevens said the freeze to thaw conditions have damaged some of the roads in town.

"I don’t have the time to list them all, but there has been a lot of them," he said. "Anytime you get multiple freeze to thaw cycles, it damages the road."

Meanwhile in Pine Plains, town Supervisor Gregg Pulver said the highway department is not worried about their supply of sand or salt.

"We have an ample supply at this point," Pulver said. "If we see our stocks getting low, we will hasten our efforts to get some."

Pulver said drivers need to remember that they have to drive appropriately when they see winter weather conditions.

"As much as we get things done, drivers need to remember that the roads are not going to be in 100 percent good condition 24-7," he said. "People need to realize that they are responsible for how the roads are, driving-wise."

style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: arial"when it comes to winter weather, pine plains town supervisor gregg pulver does not mince words.>

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