GREATER CAPITAL REGION — A whopper of a winter storm is expected to rip through the greater Capital Region starting Monday night, potentially leaving behind 18 inches or more in some areas.
The storm — potentially the heaviest winter blast since December of 2020 — will likely transition from rain to a wet, and eventually powdery, snowfall within a two-day time frame, according to the National Weather Service in Albany.
Wind gusts are forecast between 30 and 40 mph. The latter speed is enough to create hazardous driving conditions and power failures.
“Travel is going to be very difficult, if not impossible Monday through Tuesday,” said NWS meteorologist Dan Thompson. “If you don’t have to travel, just postpone it.”
Much of upstate New York and New England lie within the wintry storm’s path. The storm is expected to pound the Capital Region and Hudson Valley before trailing off into Central and Western New York.
New York City and Long Island are expected to receive less than an inch of snow. Minor coastal flooding is possible.
Such conditions overall are the byproduct of a high-pressure system developing and curving off the East Coast, according to Thompson.
“It’s going to be heavy precipitation through a large portion of the Northeast in the form of rain, but in our area we’re expecting it to be mainly snow,” Thompson said.
Gov. Kathy Hochul has directed multiple state agencies to prepare for an emergency response. More than 552,000 bottles and cans of water, 39,948 ready-to-eat meals, 11,220 pillows and 1,489 generators are on standby with the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.
The state Department of Transportation is ready to respond with 1,823 plows, 344 large loaders and 37 snow blowers, and the New York State Thruway Authority, 368 plows, 68 loaders and more than 117,000 tons of salt.
In Berne, where heavy snowfall is expected, crews plan to have one large plow truck repaired by Monday afternoon and attach plows to several pickup trucks before the storm hits.
“So we’re scrambling with last minute things, trying to get things up and running, but we’re still down,” said Berne Highway Superintendent Randy Bashwinger. “We’re still down on four [plow] trucks right now.”
A silver lining, because the storm isn’t expected to hit in a single blast, Bashwinger said there should be ample time for his nine-vehicle fleet to make headway on the Helderberg plateau roads.
In Saratoga Springs, school district Superintendent Mike Patton expects to make a decision about keeping schools open early Morning morning. Patton consults his school and municipal transportation officials before closing or delaying the district.
“I know it’s evolving as the times go by so we’re kind of keeping track of what the 6 o’ clock news will tell us and just the forecast for the storm coming in,” he said.
Southern Adirondack Trail Snowmobile Association President David Jones is also watching the weather.
“It would be a huge benefit for our club if we do get the snow that they’re predicting,” Jones said.
Most trails in the Mayfield system were shut down Saturday night after heavy use and unseasonably warm weather turned the network into muck. Following a snowstorm, it typically takes at least a week of stable, low temperatures and grooming to reopen trails.
Tyler A. McNeil can be reached at 518-395-3047 or [email protected]. Follow him on Facebook at Tyler A. McNeil, Daily Gazette or Twitter @TylerAMcNeil