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Old man winter arrives early

Sunday, December 15, 2013
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A rainbow of sleds dapple the snowy landscape as children and their families took to the hill in Collins Park in Scotia for a morning of sledding on Sunday
A rainbow of sleds dapple the snowy landscape as children and their families took to the hill in Collins Park in Scotia for a morning of sledding on Sunday

— “OK, now you’ve gotta walk back up!” Daiva Baumgarten of Glenville shouted to her two little boys, who were lying in the deep snow at the bottom of the hill in Collins Park in Scotia.

Lukas, 5, and Tomas, 3, were up at 6 Sunday morning begging to go out to play in the snow, their mother said. But walking back up a steep slope after a quick sled ride down wasn’t really their idea of fun.

“Take the rope and pull the sled back up the hill,” Baumgarten instructed from the hilltop. The rosy cheeked boys stumbled a few half-hearted steps in her direction before collapsing with mock exhaustion back down into the snow.

Children’s happy shouts mingled with the scrape of shovels and the roar of snowblowers as Capital Region residents stepped out into the first major snow of the season.

Eleven-and-a-half inches fell at the Albany International Airport — the most since February 2011, said Ian Lee, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

Snow totals varied from six inches to over a foot across the region, with Schenectady County seeing between 10 and 13 inches, according to Lee.

The overnight storm prompted many local municipalities to declare snow emergencies and churches to cancel Sunday services.

Pickup trucks took to the streets with plows attached. Homeowners with snowblowers launched fountains of white powder into the air as they cleared driveways and sidewalks, while those with shovels moved more slowly, often stopping to lean on their tools to rest.

On Fifth Street in Scotia at around noon, 19-year-old Aubree Mount was attempting to shovel through the massive snowbank at the end of her driveway, with help from her brother, Ire Pinney, 14, and friend Tiffany Bulson, 21.

Wearing no coat or gloves and just sneakers on her feet, Aubree insisted she wasn’t cold.

“I have many layers on,” she assured.

The three young snow removers had been at their job for about 20 minutes and still had a ways to go.

“I’d rather be sitting inside or Christmas shopping,” Aubree said, gazing at the snow-covered vehicles she and her helpers had yet to dig out.

Slick roads caused trouble for many who ventured out on them Saturday night and Sunday morning.

“We’ve been towing all through the night,” said Mike Schaeffer of Auto Solutions, a body shop in Glenville.

The company had received about 25 storm-related calls as of Sunday afternoon. On a day when roads are snow- and ice-free, Schaeffer said they get one to three calls.

“I don’t sleep in the winter,” he joked.

Bobar’s Interstate Towing in Schenectady was also very busy Saturday night into Sunday, said an employee Sunday morning.

Storm-related power outages in the Capital Region were sporadic and not very significant, Lee said.

According to National Grid’s online power outage map, there were only a handful of outages in the region as of Sunday afternoon.

The snow that fell was light and fluffy, thanks to temperatures well below freezing. That was excellent news for shovelers but not so great for those interested in making snowballs or snowmen.

“Those are not snowballs!” 5-year-old Joey Wagner of Scotia yelled at Lukas Baumgarten, who was throwing handfuls of the powdery stuff in his buddy’s direction in Collins Park.

The abundance of powder was a welcome sight to cross-country skiers. The Schenectady Municipal Golf Course was criss-crossed with skiers’ tracks Sunday afternoon.

According to Lee, more snow could be on the way Tuesday, but only an inch or two of accumulation is expected.

 
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