Schenectady County

Winter roars in

The worst of the snowfall is over, but the aftereffects of this weekend’s storm are about to be felt
A bicyclist makes his way along Van Vranken Avenue in Schenectady as snow falls Sunday.
A bicyclist makes his way along Van Vranken Avenue in Schenectady as snow falls Sunday.

The worst of the snowfall is over, but the aftereffects of this weekend’s storm are about to be felt around the region.

According to the National Weather Service in Albany, between 14 and 20 inches of snow fell since Friday, including 6 to 9 inches on Sunday, the first day of winter.

Meteorologist Joe Villani said the weather will turn frigid today, with temperatures reaching between 20 and 22 degrees but high winds out of the North making it feel like between zero and 5 degrees.

Travelers should continue to be cautious on roads because of the potential that drifting snow in outlying areas will cover roadways and decrease visibility, Villani said.

Snow emergencies were declared in the cities of Saratoga Springs, Albany and Cohoes on Sunday afternoon, as well as the town and village of Waterford and village of Stillwater.

The aftereffects of the white stuff means green for Peter Cary’s towing business in Albany. His business booms when the snow stops, and he expects a huge volume of work after this storm.

“Most people think we’re busiest when the snow is flying, but that’s not true,” the owner of Capital District Towing and Transport said. “People either stay off the roads or they are extremely careful when they see the snow coming down. When the snow stops, drivers seem more distracted, and that’s when they [go] off the roads.”

Police reported numerous cars off roads but no major accidents Sunday.

Cary said his business has six tow trucks. During Sunday’s heavy snow, he and his employees were getting ahead on scheduled vehicle removals, not emergencies.

“We had a number of jobs lined up for [today] that we’re taking care of [Sunday afternoon] because we know [today’’s going to be a bear,” he said. “People will find their cars won’t start or they’ve been buried so deep they can’t dig themselves out.”

Villani said the snowstorm that began Friday at about noon and continued until after midnight left 6 to 9 inches in the immediate Capital Region and another 3 inches of lighter, powdery snow followed on Saturday.

“We are actually close to average snowfall for this time of year,” he said. “It might feel like more than average, but that’s because the snow started late and has accumulated over the past couple of weeks.”

Hundreds of people needing a warm place to sleep headed to local shelters for the weekend.

Resident assistants at the Capital City Rescue Mission in Albany and the City Mission of Schenectady said both shelters were beyond normal capacity with more than 100 clients for the weekend.

More than a dozen flights were canceled or delayed at Albany International Airport but the airport was not shut down due to Sunday’s snow. Kennedy, La Guardia and Newark airports in the New York metropolitan area, as well as Logan in Boston and Philadelphia International, experienced storm conditions and congestion that resulted in the delays and cancellations in Albany, according to spokesman Doug Myers.

The storm provided too much of a good thing for the Capital Holiday Lights display in Washington Park, which was closed Sunday. The display will re-open today at 6 p.m.

The weather will begin to moderate Tuesday as temperatures are expected to reach the mid-20s, Villani said. A warm front is expected to move through the area Tuesday night, producing a wintry mix of sleet, snow and freezing rain, which will change to rain Wednesday as temperatures increase to the mid-40s, Villani said. A cold front will come through Wednesday and temperatures will slowly decline Christmas Day.

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