Ice causing traffic, power woes

The mix of snow, sleet, and some freezing rain today caused dozens of minor accidents on the Northwa
Gary Golinski, a Saratoga Springs postman, braves both snow and pouring rain as he delivers mail Friday in the city.
Gary Golinski, a Saratoga Springs postman, braves both snow and pouring rain as he delivers mail Friday in the city.

The mix of snow, sleet, and some freezing rain today caused dozens of minor accidents on the Northway, especially in Saratoga County and points north.

But as the evening wore on the temperature stayed high enough to keep ice from forming on most roads and highways in the Capital Region.

National Grid reported very few power outages in its sprawling eastern region.

“It’s warm enough to keep it rain,” said Al Bianchetti, a National Grid spokesman.

However, the National Weather Service still kept a freezing rain advisory in effect for Schenectady, Albany and southern Saratoga County until 11 p.m.

The power company had extra repair crews on standby at 7 p.m. just in case the temperature dropped and ice started bringing down power lines, Bianchetti said.

Trooper Matthew Spring at the Wilton state police station said early Friday evening that numerous cars were off the Northway and troopers were helping with roll-over accidents at Exit 16 in Wilton and Exit 17 in Moreau.

Police agencies reported no serious accidents from the storm.

National Weather Service meteorologist Hugh Johnson in Albany said snow, sleet and freezing rain were falling in the region at noon and as much as a half-inch of ice was expected to accumulate in Schoharie and western Schenectady counties by mid-afternoon.

Sleet with freezing rain is likely through this evening, with snow and sleet accumulations varying throughout the region.

Real-time road conditions

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National Grid reported about 500 customers without power in Montgomery County in the afternoon, mainly in the towns of Glen, Mohawk and Root. The company is expecting power to be restored in those areas by about 9 p.m.

Police agencies in the region dealt with numerous minor accidents and cars off roadways. State police spokeswoman Maureen Tuffey said roads north of Malta were extremely slick and driving in that area was a “nightmare.”

Generators and propane heaters were popular items with customers at the Home Depot in Wilton this morning as home owners prepared for possible weather-related power outages, according to Donna Hampton, a store associate. Hampton said several generators, with price tags of $800 and up, were selling well.

“These are portable generators that run on gasoline and can been hooked up pretty fast,” she said.

Propane cylinders, heaters, sand and salt are also popular items at the hardware store today, she said.

Johnson said sleet drops freeze in the air and are less dangerous that the freezing rain which solidifies as it hits the ground or other objects.

“Most main roads have been salted and shouldn’t be a problem but the side streets and roads could turn treacherous fairly quickly,” Johnson said. “There could also be power outages due to ice on the lines or downed branches from trees.”

Montgomery County and city of Amsterdam officials decided to close their municipal offices early today because of the winter storm.

Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane ordered all offices in City Hall to close at 10:30 a.m. and not to reopen until 8 a.m. Monday.

Meanwhile, a notice on the county’s Web site, www.co.montgomery.ny.us”said all of its offices closed at noon today.

Officials in Glens Falls closed city offices there at 2 p.m.

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