Schenectady County

Repeat of freak storm unlikely

Ten years ago today, the Capital Region was digging out of a surprise snowstorm that dumped more tha

Ten years ago today, the Capital Region was digging out of a surprise snowstorm that dumped more than a foot of wet snow onto some parts of the region, and conditions for the next day or two are similar to those that set up that storm.

The April 9, 2000, storm left 30,000 homes and businesses without power, in some cases for more than 24 hours. The heavy, wet snow snapped tree branches that had just budded, and the branches came down on power lines.

It was a real surprise because the cold and snow came after a beautiful, sunny April 8 when temperatures climbed to 76 degrees.

People were wearing shorts outside on Saturday, April 8, 2000, but were wearing coats and gloves and shoveling snow on Sunday, according to the Gazette’s front-page story.

“The morning’s slushy, freezing roadways and below-freezing temperatures were a sharp contrast to Saturday, when the mercury topped out at 76 and shorts and T-shirts were the outfit of the day,” according to the story in the April 10, 2000, editions of the Daily Gazette.

The conditions forecast for next two days — unusually warm temperatures and a cold front coming in overnight — are somewhat similar to what they were beginning on April 8, 2000.

Brian Montgomery, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany, said the high temperature on Thursday was 83 degrees but would drop into the 50s overnight. The record high for April 8 is 88 degrees, set in 1929.

The cold front will bring showers, wind and thunderstorms, Montgomery said. Some of the thunderstorms will be moving at 40 to 45 miles per hour and could include lightning and brief, heavy downpours of rain.

The showers will end around noon today and the sun will come out this afternoon, but the temperature will not exceed the mid-50s.

Montgomery said the low-to-mid 50s are the average high temperature for early April.

Tonight, it should get down to the mid-to-low 30s with wind gusts up to 25 miles per hour. There could even be some light snow in the higher elevations of the Catskills and Adirondacks overnight, but this will not stay on the ground, Montgomery said.

“There’s really not that much to worry about,” Montgomery said about any chance of the April 9, 2000, storm repeating itself.

One of the reasons given by meteorologists for the April 2000 snowstorm was a subtle change in air flow at the jet stream level in the atmosphere, according to a story on the CBS 6 Web site (

A low-pressure system “transported a hefty slug of Atlantic moisture over the cold dome over New York, which translated into a period of extremely heavy snow” over the Capital Region, the story says.

Montgomery said slight changes in the jet stream continue to produce some unique and unexpected weather situations. He said computer weather modeling has improved significantly over the past decade, providing more and better information on storm possibilities.

Many of the power outages from the April 9, 2000, storm were concentrated in Saratoga County. The city of Saratoga Springs, village of Ballston Spa and town of Wilton were hit hard by the outages, according to Nicholas Lyman, who was then a spokesman for Niagara Mohawk Power Corp., now National Grid.

A total of 13.3 inches of snow fell in Albany in that 2000 storm, which was the fourth highest April snowfall on record, according to the Gazette story.

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