First major snowstorm expected to hit big in Capital Region

Snowblowers were flying out of the stores Sunday as Capital Region residents prepared for the area’s

Categories: Schenectady County

Snowblowers were flying out of the stores Sunday as Capital Region residents prepared for the area’s first major snowstorm.

Although the region has had some dustings, so far there has not been any significant accumulation of snow. A powerful Nor’easter is expected to change that as forecasters predict that from 6 to 16 inches of snow is possible in the tri-city region by the end of the storm tonight.

Shoppers scooped up about 30 snowblowers from the Glenville Lowe’s to get ready, according to department manager Aaron Daniels.

“Thankfully, I still have some snowblowers and shovels left,” he said.

The morning commute for those who have to return to work today from the Christmas break could be slippery.

“Most of the falling snow should be over with by noon,” said Bob Kilpatrick, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “The winds aren’t going to stop, however. The winds will keep blowing around what has come down.”

A winter storm warning is in effect for all or parts of Schenectady, Saratoga, Albany, Schoharie and Washington counties through 5 p.m. today. Driving will be hazardous because of low visibility and blowing snow. Wind gusts of up to 40 miles per hour are possible.

It will be blustery with temperatures tonight dropping to 9 with wind chill values as low as minus 5 degrees.

Areas south and east of the Capital Region were expected to get hit worst. State police closed the Thruway from Exit 21A to New York City for tractor trailers and other tandem operators on Sunday afternoon and advised residents to avoid all nonessential travel until after the storm passes.

The winter weather in other parts of the country canceled several flights at Albany International Airport, including those bound for Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Tampa and Baltimore.

Amtrak service was unaffected in the Albany area, according to spokesman Cliff Cole. Trains were canceled Sunday in the New York and Boston area, but some limited service was expected today if conditions warrant. Trains were canceled in the Virginia and Washington, D.C., area because of the storm.

Ski areas were welcoming the wintry weather. Kate Michener, marketing director at Maple Ski Ridge in Rotterdam, said even though the business has been open for three weeks since the cold weather, a fresh coating of natural snow reminds people to hit the slopes. In addition, some people are off this week because of the school vacation.

“This is another reason to get the kids out of the house. A lot of people have gotten snow equipment and skis and snowboards, and this is the perfect opportunity for people to come out and enjoy their new gear and enjoy the local skiing.”

While every snowfall and even rainfall is hyped as a big event, Michener said people should not be terrified by the weather but should embrace it.

“We all know how to drive in the snow. We have to remind ourselves what to do, how to be smart and safe,” she said.

Tuesday will be mostly sunny with a high near 29. No additional precipitation is forecast until Saturday.

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