Spring off to a snowy beginning
What a difference a year makes
CAPITAL REGION At this time last year, temperatures were in the 70s and golfers worked on their swing, gardeners started their yard work and pretty much everyone had stashed away their winter coats.
But as the season turns from winter to spring Wednesday — officially at 7:02 in the morning — people are more likely to be out skiing, massaging muscles that are sore from shoveling and keeping boots and coats close to the front door.
The snow that fell Monday night and Tuesday — between 4 and 12 inches across the Capital Region — may stick around until the weekend, National Weather Service meteorologist Ingrid Amberger said.
“It’ll slowly melt,” she said.
Wednesday’s high is projected to hit 35 degrees, and even though it is likely to feel chilly, with a brisk wind, the breeze won’t cause drifting because the snow is too wet, Amberger said.
According to AccuWeather, Thursday’s high in Albany will hit 35 degrees, temperatures will reach 38 Friday and they could rise to 40 Saturday.
But with lows at night in the high teens and lower 20s, freezing snow and slippery roads at night are a possibility, Amberger said.
Many local ski areas will be open this week and possibly through the end of the month or longer.
Royal Mountain in Caroga has opened all trails and all lifts after getting nearly a foot of new snow, according to a message on the company’s voice mail. It will open this weekend and next weekend.
West Mountain in Glens Falls also got a foot of new snow on top of the previous 30- to 45-inch base, said Sue Parker, director of sales and marketing.
Children who were off school Tuesday took advantage of the day to pack the slopes, Parker said. “It’s just been a really fun day.”
This year’s ski season has definitely been better than last year, when Parker said there was a 20 to 25 percent drop in ski visits.
Most ski areas won’t say when they’re closing, because it depends on the weather.
“We never actually put a firm date on that,” Parker said. But West Mountain plans to be open until at least the end of the month for skiing and through April 20 for special nighttime snowmobiling events.
“We know the poor snowmobilers haven’t been able to get out,” she said.
Maple Ski Ridge in Rotterdam has no definite plans to reopen, but officials may change their minds “if the weather looks enticing for this weekend,” events coordinator Kate Michener said. She encouraged people to check the company’s website or Facebook page.
“A lot of people have been calling,” she said.
By late Tuesday afternoon, the storm that started Monday night brought a total of 5 to 12 inches in Saratoga County, 5 to 8 in Schenectady County, 9 to 12 inches to Fulton County, 5 to 10 in Montgomery County, and 4 to 9 in Schoharie County, according to unofficial reports to the National Weather Service.
Saratoga Springs and the Fulton County hamlet of Fish House got the highest snowfall, 12 inches.
The region has received more snow so far this month than in any other single month this winter, Amberger said.
As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, Albany had received 21 inches in March, compared with 13.1 inches in December, 6.2 inches in January and 11.1 inches in February.
The Capital Region would have to get another storm this month to push it into the top 10 snowiest Marches on record. March 1888 tops that list with 50.9 inches, and March 2005 is 10th with 25.9 inches.
Even with a snowy March, snow totals for the year are still a little shy of normal.
As of late afternoon Tuesday, the storm had brought 6.6 inches to Albany International Airport, an official reporting site for the National Weather Service. Before the storm started Monday night, Albany was 8.5 inches shy of the normal 53.6-inch seasonal snowfall.
“It may come close,” Amberger said.
Most schools in Saratoga, Fulton and Montgomery counties were closed Tuesday, but Shenendehowa and Waterford-Halfmoon school districts remained open, as did many districts in Schenectady and Schoharie counties.
Tuesday morning and afternoon, car accidents kept police busy, especially around Saratoga County, where accidents were reported on the Northway in northern Saratoga County, on Route 146 in Clifton Park and several other places.
Saratoga Springs police responded to six accidents in the city plus five incidents where vehicles spun off snowy roads, said Sgt. Jason Tetu.
None of them involved serious injuries; most caused only vehicle damage.
“None of my officers reported anything of significant damage,” he said.
A snow emergency is still in place in Saratoga Springs through 9 this morning, meaning that people whose cars are parked on public streets or lots need to move them to plowed spaces.
“We ask for people’s continued patience as far as parking,” Tetu said.