Winter storm hits vacation week
CAPITAL REGION Tina and Patrick Slater gutted out a slow, early morning trip to Schenectady along the snow-choked lanes of Interstate 88 Thursday.
Back at their home in Schoharie, their son Aaron spent several hours behind a snowblower, carving through more than a foot of heavy snow that blanketed the town. Still, Tina Slater didn’t seem to mind, considering the nearly day-long storm delivered the first significant snowfall she’s seen in nearly a year.
“It’s beautiful though,” she acknowledged Thursday afternoon as the storm tapered off. “We haven’t had snow like this in a while.”
The storm dumped anywhere between 7 inches and more than a foot in areas across the Capital Region. Parts of Schoharie County reported having more than 16 inches as of the last reports received by the National Weather Service in Albany; the total was just 8 inches from beating the snow reported all last winter.
Albany International Airport reported 8 inches, while outlying areas of Albany County received upward of a foot. Parts of Saratoga County, such as the town of Edinburg, also reported more than a foot.
Meteorologist George Maglaras said the storm delivered as originally forecast and then moved up the coast toward Nova Scotia during the early evening Thursday. The accumulation in most areas was on par or greater than the last significant snow storm that started last Feb 29 and delivered nearly 9 inches over two days.
Maglaras said the storm wasn’t anything unusual for the area, rather more of a return to the standard. “This is the type of storm we’d normally expect to get around two or three times each winter,” he said.
With area schools shut down for the holiday break anyway, many took to local hills for sledding. The hill by Schenectady County’s Glendale Home in Glenville was filled with dozens throughout the day.
The blast of snow also helped out several small ski areas. Maple Ski Ridge in Rotterdam opened Wednesday as the storm was arriving and Willard Mountain in Easton will start the season today,
But with the snow also came the usual headaches many in the Capital Region managed to elude last winter. Commuter traffic was brought to a crawl in the morning and was slowed during the early evening.
Authorities spent much of the day tending to dozens of minor accidents. But in general, the storm passed by without causing too much havoc.
“I think everybody knew it was coming and people prepared,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Steve DiRienzo. “There’s always a few fender benders.”
Schoharie County Emergency Management Director Kevin Neary cautioned that the heavy accumulation could pose safety problems, especially given the wet nature of the snow. He advised monitoring snow accumulations on porches and roofs because the added weight could cause a collapse.
“This snow is heavy and wet, and we want people to exercise caution when they’re shoveling it,” Neary said.
The snow also didn’t make fighting a stubborn building fire on State Street in Schenectady any easier. With temperatures dipping into the 20s and a steady wind blowing through downtown, Fire Chief Michael Della Rocco cautioned his crews about conditions around them.
“It makes for a danger of hypothermia or slip-and-fall injuries,” he said.
Maglaras said more snow could be in the forecast for the weekend, but it’s not expected to amount to much more than an inch or two. But with temperatures expected to remain in the low- to mid-20s through the New Year holiday, the snow will usher in 2013.