Several powerful thunderstorms pummeled the Capital Region Monday, coating some area roadways with coin-sized hail.
The National Weather Service in Albany issued severe thunderstorm warnings throughout the evening, as commuters found their trek home impeded by high winds and ice pellets. Some commuters compared the hail to snow-like condition because of the amount covering the roadway, said Steve DiRienzo, a meteorologist with the weather service.
“There were reports of penny-sized hail and larger covering the Northway between Exit 13 and Exit 14 [in Saratoga Springs],” he said.
Unofficial reports suggested similar conditions along Rosendale Road in Niskayuna. The weather service also received reports of wind gusts of up to 40 mph sweeping between Niskayuna and Glenville.
National Grid reported 5,387 customers without power throughout Schenectady County. The worst hit area was in Niskayuna, where 3,512 customers were without power, according to figures provided by the company.
Glenville had 1,105 customers without power. National Grid had 2,593 customers without power in Albany County, with almost all of them located within the city of Albany; the company anticipated all of the regional outages would be restored by late Monday evening.
Firefighters responded to a blaze that broke out at a Williams Street residence in Niskayuna shortly after the thunderstorm passed by. Fire Coordinator John Nuzback said there were reports of a lighting strike in the area of the blaze, but wasn’t ready to attribute it as the cause of the fire.
Nuzback said the fire was brought under control quickly and there were no injuries reported. He said the property owner was not at home when the fire broke out.
The weather service also issued a flash-flood warning throughout parts of Rensselaer and Albany counties. Heavy downpours were causing flood conditions in some of the tributaries in southern Albany county, the weather service reported.
DiRienzo said the largest hail reported was in Niskayuna, where some of the pellets were almost an inch thick. He said some areas in Glenville reported similar-sized hail.
Atmospheric conditions make hail storms relatively common in the Capital Region throughout May and June. DiRienzo said the combination of frigid air from Canada mixing with the strength of the late-spring sunlight creates optimal conditions for hail.
“This time of year, the sun is as high as it’s going to be and there’s still a lot of cold air from Canada,” he said.
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