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WET SNOW DELIVERS REMINDER TO AREA SLICK DRIVING CONDITIONS CAUSE A FLURRY OF MINOR ACCIDENTS

Snowfall blanketed most of New York State Monday, sparing Western New York its worst but still reminding everyone here that even after a very moderate January, winter hasn't lost its punch.

Monday's official total of 3.6 inches of snow at the Greater Buffalo International Airport raised the January total to just 11.8 inches. The winter total since Oct. 1 climbed to 54.4 inches, a full 6 inches below normal, according to the National Weather Service.

By late Monday, the traditional snow belt areas in southern Erie County had received between 5 and 6 inches. Elsewhere, 4 inches fell in Genesee County, 4 to 6 inches in Wyoming County and 6 to 8 inches in Allegany County.

Western New York escaped the brunt of the storm, which dumped 15 inches of new snow on Utica.

The snow came after days of springlike weather in the Buffalo area, where Sunday's temperature of 51 degrees tied that date's record high set in 1914.

The snow also came one day after the 13th anniversary of the Blizzard of '77, a 36-hour wind-and-snow storm that left 13 people dead.

Some of the wettest snow of the winter fell on the Buffalo area Monday evening, causing sloppy and slippery driving conditions.

In Buffalo, the water equivalent of the falling snow was 10 percent, or more than double what a lake-effect storm would have brought.

"You watch people struggle to walk to their cars, in the snow and sleet, and then they get in their cars and think they can drive at the normal speed limit," said State Police spokesman Robert Armet in Albany. "If you're having trouble walking, chances are you'll have trouble driving. It's a matter of common sense."

The wet, slush-filled roads caused plenty of skidding and numerous minor accidents across the area, according to local police agencies.

In Wyoming County, snowy conditions were blamed for three accidents within 45 minutes Monday afternoon, sheriff's deputies said.

Three passengers suffered minor injuries just after 2 p.m. when their car slid into the blade of a Town of Bennington snowplow on Route 354 in Cowlesville, Sgt. John Laird said.

In other Wyoming County accidents, a Buffalo man lost control of his tractor-trailer and struck a utility pole on Route 63 in Covington, and a tractor-trailer plunged down an embankment and rolled over after colliding with a car on Route 39 near the Village of Perry.

Deputies reported no serious injuries in those accidents.

Elsewhere, a Cattaraugus woman escaped injury when her car collided with a tractor-trailer about 4 p.m. Monday on Route 242 in the Village of Little Valley, Cattaraugus County deputies said.

And a Lakewood woman was injured when she lost control of her jeep on snowy Route 17 in the Town of Cold Springs at 7:05 a.m. Lindy Friedman, 37, of 5 Brigg St., was treated in Jamestown's WCA Hospital for minor injuries, a hospital spokesman said.

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