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Rare October snow rocks the Bronx

Bronx Times

By Vito Signorile

Residents of the Bronx got a rare and unwanted surprise over Halloween weekend.

Instead of preparing candy bags for trick-or-treaters, Bronxites had to bring out their shovels and rock salt early this year as snow blanketed the greater New York area on Saturday, October 29.

The storm dropped approximately two to four inches throughout parts of the borough and according to the National Weather Service, the storm set a record snowfall for October in the city, leaving thousands of people in the Bronx without electric power.

According to Rolando Infante, Con Edison public affairs manager for the Bronx, nearly 10,000 residents throughout the Bronx were affected as a result of the storm. By Tuesday, November 1, Infante said that approximately 124 customers were still without power, with 43 known to be storm related.

Councilman Jimmy Vacca, who fought the city’s response during last December’s blizzard, spent the entire day on Sunday, October 30 visiting constituents’ homes and streets, which had been damaged by collapsed trees.

“It certainly took the entire borough by surprise. Never in my life have I seen any snow like this in October,” Vacca said. “Our biggest priority was to address residents who lost their power and trees that had fallen. There are still leaves on a lot of the trees and the snow made them too heavy to stand. Unfortunately, there’s not much people can do about unexpected weather like this.”

Fallen trees could be found along most streets in Vacca’s district, but mostly along Pelham Parkway between Stillwell Avenue and White Plains Road, where dozens of trees were left laying on the grass.

Vacca said that it will take a big effort by the city Department of Parks and Recreation to remove all of the damaged trees.

He also believes that situations like this could be avoided in the future if trees are properly maintenanced by the Parks Department on a consistent basis.

“A lot of these trees are not properly taken care of. Too many of them need to be trimmed and some of them are even growing out of the concrete,” Vacca said. “A lot of residents had a good attitude after the storm, but it’s going to take a large effort to clean all of this up.”

Although many residents were safe after the storm ended, 20-year-old Jennifer Sosa was tragically killed on the Cross Bronx Expressway near Bruckner Boulevard and Brush Avenue after she was struck by another vehicle, launching her over the highway’s concrete barrier and sending her into a construction site 75-feet below.

Sosa, who was coming home from her job in Long Island, was on the phone with her mother, Angela Escoto, outside of her vehicle after getting involved in a minor fender-bender. After she expressed to her mother that she was “fine,” Sosa and her 19-year-old brother, Pedro Luis Soto, were hit by Queens resident Mitchell Lebron who lost control of his vehicle on the icy highway.

Pedro Soto miraculously survived the hit by the 1999 Toyota Corolla, but is currently undergoing a series of surgeries in Jacobi Medical Center.

Reach Vito Signorile via e-mail at vsignorile@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383.

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