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Time for winter weather driving tips

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In your car heading to work, you may notice not everyone is going with the snow flow. There may be snow flying off the car ahead of you or perhaps only a small portion of someone's rear window scraped. It's an annual event, but there are also annual precautions you can take to protect yourself. New York is seeing its first major snowfall of the season.  The National Weather Service has issued a lake effect snow warning until 7 p.m. Monday for Rochester and other cities and towns along Lake Ontario. Meteorologists say some areas could see up to a foot of additional accumulation by the time the snow tapers off Monday night.

The storm has caused flight delays and cancelations at Greater Rochester International Airport.  Power outages have also been reported.

The weather service says the combination of snow and blowing snow will result in near blizzard conditions at times. Meteorologists are urging travelers to be prepared for rapid changes in road and visibility conditions.

In the Buffalo metro area Monday morning, roads are dry and less than an inch of snow fell at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport over the weekend.

We went to NITTEC, the people who run all of those traffic cameras around town. They can see when someone is not following the winter weather driving rules.

"It kind of creeps up on you. Some people really aren't ready for when that first snow hits and they want to get a couple drive routes under their belt, I guess you could say, before they use their winter driving skills," said John Lafalce, a NITTEC traffic management operation technician. "But we want to urge people to take it slow. If you need to go somewhere and there is going to be some winter weather, plan in advance. Give yourself a little extra time."

LaFalce said an emergency kit of your own is a good idea.
            

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"We always want to prepare for those unforseen conditions," he said. "Keep your vehicle maintenance up to date. Make sure you have a snow brush with an ice scraper. Some general roadway things that you might need in the vehicle: jumper cables, some extra water, maybe a blanket."

LaFalce suggests keeping some non-perishable food in the car, like energy bars. He also suggests listening to the weather forecast so you can plan your drive as another good precaution.

"Keep abreast of the weather itself. Know and anticipate what type of weather is going to be on your travel route," he said. "Visit our web site. Download our apps. It's free for Android and iPhone users to get a better depiction of what we are anticipating on your drive."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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