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Watertown braces for first heavy snowfall of the winter

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Catherine Loper
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WRVO News (file photo)

Upstate New York is hunkering down for the first heavy snowfall of the winter season. Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency for eleven counties for lake-effect snow.

A lake-effect snow warning is in effect for Lewis County until 4 a.m. Saturday, and for Jefferson County until 1 p.m. Sunday.

Watertown could receive up to 2 feet of lake-effect snow. Patrick Keenan, superintendent for Watertown public works, said the city is prepared.

“It'd be nice if we started out with maybe 6 inches, but 6 inches or 26 inches, it's still the same deployment of equipment and resources to deal with both those storms,” Keenan said.

He said the city gets its equipment ready for the winter season by the end of October.

“Hopefully everyone's safe, and we get through this together,” Keenan said. "At this point, I think everything is 100 percent ready to go. It's just a matter of kind of waiting things out, seeing when the storm develops and how it develops."

But Keenan said he’s not concerned, saying his team is ready to provide 24/7 service as they assess the storm. He said he is in touch with the local Department of Transportation should Watertown need additional snow plow drivers throughout the storm.

Watertown averages more than 100 inches of snow a year with Keenan saying some years that number can hit more than 200 inches.

Ava Pukatch joined the WRVO news team in September 2022. She previously reported for WCHL in Chapel Hill, NC and earned a degree in Journalism and Media from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Ava was a Stembler Scholar and a reporter and producer for the award-winning UNC Hussman broadcast Carolina Connection. In her free time, Ava enjoys theatre, coffee and cheering on Tar Heel sports. Find her on Twitter @apukatch.