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Area gets hit with spring fever

Area gets hit with spring fever

Bill Jourdanais of Burnt Hills was in a big rush Friday afternoon to pick up an order at Mail N More

Bill Jourdanais of Burnt Hills was in a big rush Friday afternoon to pick up an order at Mail N More on Route 50, but he said his chores were enjoyable because he could run them on his motorcycle.

“It’s my second day out on the bike and it’s great,” he said under sunny skies with temperatures in the 70s.

Jourdanais waved to other bikers buzzing down the road as he left the store.

The fine weather is expected to continue through the weekend, according to meteorologist Kimberly Sutkevich of the National Weather Service in Albany.

She said temperatures have been about 20 degrees above average since Thursday.

David Dybas of Amsterdam used the sunshine of the afternoon to wash his car.

After soaping and rinsing his car at a commercial car wash, he drove home and polished it up as well as cleaning the inside.

“I wash my car in my heated garage through the winter,” he said. “This spring it needs extra attention because of the mess the city made on the street.”

Dybas was complaining about bare patches on his lawn left behind when the city installed new sidewalks along Route 67. He said vehicles passing kick up the dirt that lands on his car and house.

Down the road in the town of Amsterdam, customers were waiting for freshly made ice cream at Cappies Drive-In.

Co-owner Donna Durinick said it will be a few weeks before her restaurant will offer car hop service, but then the tradition of bringing orders to cars in the parking lot will continue.

“Cappies has been in business since 1965 and has always offered car hop service,” she said.

Customer Joe Giannetti of Guilderland said he works in Amsterdam and took a break to have lunch and ice cream with his young daughters and his mother.

“The girls are home from school this week and it seemed like a good day for a lunch date,” he said.

Sutkevich said school children and their teachers lucked out this week of spring vacation.

“Normal highs are in the 50s and the lows in the mid-30s at this time of year,” she said. “We have a beautiful high pressure system feeding warm air from the south.”

Precipitation for April is below average, but for the year it’s above average as there was a lot of rain in March, she said.

New flood information Friday morning included warnings for the Hudson River at Schuylerville and Fort Edward as well as Lake Champlain and the Schroon River in Warren County.

“It’s all snow melt and with the high temperatures, it’s melting fairly quickly,” she said. “At this time of year, flooding is not uncommon. This year, we’re lucky there isn’t a big rain event to add to the problem.”

The state Department of Environmental Conservation issued warnings against outdoor burning Friday, citing dry conditions.

Yancey Roy, DEC spokesman, said there have been several brush fires in the region that were believed to have been started in burning debris that got out of control.

“The biggest one was in southern Albany County, in Rensselaerville, which burned 47 acres and burned for a couple of days before it was considered under control [on Friday],” he said.

A smaller fire burned about 3 acres in the Johnstown State Forest earlier in the week, he said.

DEC Forest Ranger Capt. Pat Kilpeck said anxious landowners hoping to clean up their properties should be cautious about starting fires.

“People must be aware that spring is a dangerous time to burn brush and debris due to the presence of dead vegetation, drying winds, sunlight and rapidly changing weather conditions,” he said.

They suggested using safe alternatives like chipping, composting or simply waiting for the growth of new green vegetation later in the spring, rather than burning debris.

“You should always have a garden hose, shovel, water bucket or other means to extinguish the fire close at hand if burning is done,” Roy said.

Nurseries and garden centers had full parking lots throughout the region, but Chris Logue of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Schenectady County warned green thumbs not to overdo planting just yet.

“There’s still a danger of frost and it will last for at least another month,” he said. “Peas, radishes, cabbage and cauliflower will be OK now, but pansies are about the only annual flower that can handle the colder temperatures that come at night.”

He said waiting until at least Mother’s Day for less hardy plants is advisable.

“Cold spots in low lying areas can be frost pockets,” he said. “Cold air sinks so you can have frost on part of your property but not in other areas.”

Madeline Gallo, a clay sculptor, was making small human figurines on a table in front of the Strolling Village Artisans shop on Washington Street in Ballston Spa Friday afternoon.

“The clay is drying out on me a little bit, but I cannot bear to give up the sunshine just yet,” she said.

Montgomery County Clerk Helen Bartone said her office has been busy all week as motorcyclists and boaters visited the Department of Motor Vehicles for registrations.

“The hallway has been packed this week, but we will seen an even bigger pickup in business around Memorial Day,” she said. “That’s when all the toys get registered for the season.”

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