Imperfect storm a blessing to some
Good cover for cross-country skiing, snowshoes
CAPITAL REGION Nemo, the much anticipated blizzard, was a slow grower, not really well organized.
“We were expecting a little bit more,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Ian Lee on Friday night. “It hasn’t exactly interacted with another system coming out of the Great Lakes the way the models were predicting.”
The Capital Region was initially expected to have 10 to 14 inches of snow by this morning, with some areas getting as much as 18 inches. As of Friday evening, only an inch to 6 had fallen in the Capital Region, with the heaviest areas toward the south and east.
The accumulation was delayed, but not averted. Lee said the heavier snow that began to come down around 8 p.m. on Friday was what they had expected, just a few hours late.
"Nemo" is the name bestowed on the storm by the Weather Channel. The National Weather Service does not name winter storms and advises against following the new practice of the Weather Channel.
Snow rates approached about 1 inch per hour in the evening and were accompanied by winds of 10 to 20 mph, which had the effect of creating dangerous road conditions that travelers had expected earlier in the day.
Lee said snow crews did a good job preparing roads in advance of the snow. Their biggest focus was preventing any ice buildup under the snow, which were the conditions that created a multi-car pileup last Saturday on the Northway in Wilton.
Also in anticipation of the snow, people were heading into stores for supplies, like batteries and food. Authorities were cautioning people to be prepared for potential power outages, but none were reported Friday evening in the Capital Region.
About two dozen flights into and out of Albany International Airport were canceled in advance of the storm on Friday. Additional crews were assigned to the airport to deal with snow, but travelers are still encouraged to check flight schedules.
And the snow was still a welcome event for winter sports enthusiasts who have been unable to use non-commercial sites — cross-country ski and snowshoe trails for example — with any regularity this winter. It has been cold enough for good snow-making at commercial ski sites.
“We’re excited about being able to open up again,” said Helen Murray, co-owner of Oak Hill Farms X-Country Ski Center. “We’d rather be open than closed.”
Last year the conditions were so bad that the Esperance based ski center couldn’t open at all. Today is their first time being open since the New Year holiday, when they had good conditions for about a week.
Olavi Hirvonen, owner of Lapland Lake Nordic Vacation Center, said the snow has made for a major improvement in conditions. He has been grooming the trails in anticipation for a big turnout this weekend.
“We expect a great day of skiing today and even better on Sunday,” Hirvonen said.
If the weather doesn’t warm up, Murray said, the snow will stick around to leave a base that will allow future skiing this season. “As long as the temperature stays cold, we can maintain it,” she said.
They’re in luck today, because Lee said it will be very cold, with widespread temperatures below freezing.
He added that there is the possibility of another system coming through the area on Monday, but it wasn’t a certainty and would likely be less serious.
Some of today’s events have already been canceled, so check on any planned activities before driving out in the snow, and follow www.dailygazette.com for news about cancellations and weather updates.