Central New York, Environment, Health, Weather

Sudden Snow and Wind Make Road Conditions Difficult

Be careful as you drive on the roads in Syracuse as the sudden drop in temperature and snowy and windy conditions make it easier for cars to slide. NCC's Lisa Nho has more on how people are staying safe as they drive.

By Lisa Nho SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — With temperatures going up to 65 degrees Fahrenheit during the past weekend, Syracuse citizens were surprised to say the least. Winter is still present but the sunny skies and green grass made it harder for people to just stay indoors.

However, they were hit with yet another surprise overnight: a small snow blizzard in the early morning and winds going up to 25 mph during the day. As weather conditions continue to change, it makes it harder for people to be properly dressed. Syracuse University junior Daniel Park was caught off guard this morning as he left his front door.

“It definitely was weird, seeing snow piling on the ground and falling from the sky. I mean, it was raining a few days ago but there was no snow so I didn’t expect to see any when I left my house,” Park said.

Park knows that living in Syracuse, he will experience these random changes often. However, he is still surprised every time the weather goes from hot to cold in the span of a few hours or days. One way he tries to stay on top of the weather is by having many layers to wear outside.

“I don’t check the weather app often enough so I just make sure to wear lots of layers. I’ll wear a shirt, then a hoodie, and then a winter jacket. Maybe I’ll choose to put on a scarf if it’s really cold out,” Park explained.

Besides dressing appropriately to stay warm, Park and other people struggle with driving in the dangerous road conditions because of the snow and ice. Fellow Syracuse University senior Brian You frequently drives around campus and to neighboring cities so he is constantly aware of the irregular weather patterns. Clear and sunny skies, along with warm temperatures, melt the snow left on the streets. But, the sudden temperature decreases, along with heavy winds, cause the melting snow to freeze and become ice. This makes it easier for cars to skid and slide across the roads, putting the lives of pedestrians at risk.

“I think the most important step to take in the winter is to keep your car clean: clean the tires, clear the windows and windshield of all the snow, and warm up the car to get rid of the ice on the car. That way you can be safe and you can keep others safe,” You warned.

 According to a new study by University of Georgia researcher Alan Black, an average of 817 people die each year from motor vehicle accidents due to snow, freezing rain, or sleet. Upstate New York, in particular, has one of the higher numbers of deaths caused by these types of vehicle crashes. Icy pavement and fierce winds make it difficult for drivers to see clearly as they go on the road. Thus, every precaution should be taken to avoid any vehicle accidents. 

“Just make sure your car doesn’t have any snow on it and drive really carefully. Slow down when there are people walking around,” Park advised.

Weather forecasts predict that the temperature will stay low over the weekend. Starting Monday, it will start to warm up, with temperatures going towards the upper 40’s and lower 50’s.

Snow piles and ice builds on the sidewalks, grass, and roads of Syracuse, making driving and walking conditions difficult. (c) 2017 Lisa Nho