An April Blast Of Winter

Carl Dyrbala walks down East Avenue in Rochester, N.Y., Friday, April 4, 2003. He had walked by a friend's house, who winters in Florida and took a picture of the ice. "I'm going to send them a photo so they can see what it look like," Dyrbala said. Rain showers combined with temperatures in the 20s coated the area and caused power outages and school closings. AP

More than 140,000 homes lost power as freezing rain continued to fall early Saturday, encasing trees, cars and roads across upstate New York in a solid shell of ice.

As much as a foot of snow piled up Friday in the Adirondacks and parts of New England. Up to 10 inches of additional snow and sleet was expected to fall in areas of upstate New York through early Saturday, the National Weather Service said.

From Niagara Falls east to Albany, the storm transformed road signs, power lines and trees into glittering ice sculptures. Along the Lake Ontario shore, where an inch of ice accumulated, suburban streets and gardens were littered with fallen limbs and snapped wiring.

The weather service expected another half an inch of ice to accumulate in western New York through early Saturday.

The wintry weather was expected move east later Saturday, as temperatures slowly rise above freezing. The precipitation will be replaced by wind gusts of up to 30 mph that may bring down more iced-over tree limbs and power lines, the weather service said.

"It's very unnerving - you don't know where the power lines or the trees are going to come down," said Debbie Reeves, 52, chipping ice off her driveway in the lakeside suburb of Webster.

"We should have our flowers up!" she exclaimed. "This is wrong."

The hazardous wintry mix closed roads, prompted police warnings against unnecessary travel and was blamed for dozens of traffic accidents, including one in North Hudson in the Adirondack foothills that left a Canadian truck driver with a broken leg.

About 80,000 utility customers in the Rochester area were without power late Friday, said Dick Marion of Rochester Gas & Electric Corp.

"It's going to be a prolonged outage," said Kerry Burns of Niagara Mohawk. At least 500 wires were reported down in the area and repairs should take through the weekend, she said.

As of late Friday, 60,400 Niagara Mohawk customers remained without power, said company spokesman Steve Brady.

"I hate it," said Doris Carver as she ripped ice off her car at her home 15 miles north of Buffalo. "I want summer so bad."

  • Francie Grace

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