CAPITAL REGION — Here we snow again.
A moisture-laden nor’easter is expected to bring as much as 18 inches of snow to the Capital Region, starting Wednesday morning and continuing into early Thursday. It would be the second nor’easter to strike upstate New York in less than a week, late in a winter for which snowfall has been sporadic.
The storm that will start before sunrise Wednesday will come close to packing the same punch as Friday’s storm, which was the biggest of the season and left more than 3 feet of snow in much of Schoharie County. That storm also brought high winds that contributed to numerous upstate power outages, and this storm will have much less wind.
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The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for the entire Capital Region from 7 a.m. Wednesday through 7 a.m. Thursday, in anticipation of 12 to 18 inches of snowfall. Anticipated snowfalls were bumped upward by about 6 inches late Tuesday afternoon, as the storm drew closer.
“The track’s just very favorable for a large accumulation of snow over a widespread region,” weather service meteorologist Joe Cebulko said. “When it tracks over Cape Cod, that’s kind of the sweet spot. Looks like this will track right over Cape Cod.”
The higher elevations of the Catskills and Berkshires, including hard-hit Schoharie County, could see even more snow — as much as 24 inches, according to the weather service forecast.
Snow is expected to begin lightly Wednesday morning, and pick up in intensity in the afternoon, falling at a rate of 1 to 3 inches per hour into Wednesday night. The bulk of the snow will be done by Thursday morning, though scattered snow showers will continue, according to the weather service forecast.
Cebulko said the snow this time will be lighter than the heavy, wet snow of last week, and winds aren’t likely to exceed 20 to 25 mph — a lower wind speed than last week, when wind damage contributed to widespread power outages.
Any snow at all will jangle nerves in local communities that are still in recovery mode after Friday’s storm, during which western Montgomery County and large parts of Schoharie County got far more snow than was predicted in the days before.
“We definitely don’t need this, but we will be prepared,” Montgomery County Emergency Services Director Jeff Smith said.
Five days after the storm that struck downstate counties hardest, tens of thousands of customers remain without power in Dutchess, Putnam, Westchester and Sullivan counties, and those areas will also see snow again. All those counties remain under states of emergency.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged everyone living in eastern New York to prepare for snow and hazardous travel conditions.
“The state is working hand in glove with local officials to keep resources and personnel in the field and get the job done,” Cuomo said Tuesday afternoon. “I urge New Yorkers to keep their supplies stocked, stay safe, and stay off the roads as the Nor’easter approaches.”
Smith said Montgomery County’s power outages have been repaired, and municipal crews are pushing back snowbanks and taking other measures to make sure roads stay open. He said his office is staying in touch with fire departments and other emergency response organizations, and using social media to remind people of the measures they should take to be ready — filling tanks on vehicles and generators, stocking up. The county received anywhere from 8 to 30 inches of snow, depending on the location.
“Honestly, there’s nothing any of us can do; if it’s coming, it’s coming,” Smith said. “We just encourage people to be as prepared as possible.”
The storm, like many nor’easters, is expected to move east from the Great Plains until it reaches the Atlantic Ocean off the New Jersey coast and encounters ocean moisture, which the storm’s counterclockwise motion would then bring inland in the form of snow.
On Monday, Glenville officials asked residents to be patient while public works crews collected fallen branches and limbs from Friday’s storm, saying: “There is a significant amount of storm damage.” That cleanup continues.
Glenville Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said salt is being loaded onto trucks and other preparations are underway. Friday’s snow was so heavy and wet that two trucks broke down, and cleanup was slowed, he said.
“We’re preparing. We’re clearing out catch basins that are clogged with snow,” Koetzle said. “It is March in the Northeast, so we have to prepared.”
Several communities on Tuesday preemptively declared snow emergencies for Wednesday and Thursday, including Amsterdam, Scotia, Rotterdam, Mechanicville and Waterford. The emergencies generally prohibit or regulate on-street parking while streets are being cleared.
Albany International Airport said major airlines were letting passengers re-book their flights without fees in anticipation of the storm. Airport spokesman Doug Myers said snow removal equipment was being inspected and readied in anticipation of up to a foot of snow.
The state Department of Agriculture and Markets was reminding farmers about the importance of monitoring snowloads on the roofs of buildings like barns, and removing it if needed.
As part of a new service, the governor’s office announced that the public can call 866-697-2434 for updates on weather, any power outage restoration times, and shelters and warming centers in their area.
Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.
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