There’s good news and bad news. Wednesday’s snowstorm is expected to bring the usual winter inconveniences: sloppy roads, slow commutes, low visibility and parking restrictions on some local roads.
The good news is the snowfall should begin tapering off in the afternoon before ending completely this evening, giving road crews enough time to clear the roads for evening commutes, said National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Montgomery.
“And we have no snow in the forecast for Thursday,” he said. “By [Wednesday] evening, roads should be dry with maybe a few light showers or snowfall. But there will be nothing Thursday and nothing Friday.”
The Capital Region is expected to get 8 to 14 inches of snow by the end of the day. Snowfall was forecast to begin around midnight and should be heaviest Wednesday morning, with as much as an inch of snow falling per hour, said Montgomery.
“One inch per hour can be quite a bit of snow in a short period of time, and it could exceed that in certain time frames,” he said. “But snowfall intensity will start to diminish in the afternoon and road crews always do a fantastic job around here.”
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning in effect from midnight to 6 p.m. Wednesday.
With the storm and school closings expected, Capital Region grocery stores were packed Tuesday as residents made sure their homes were stocked with a few emergency staples, like bottled water, batteries, milk, bread ... and cookie dough?
“We see a lot of families that anticipate school closings and want to do things together,” said Hannaford spokesman Eric Blom, “so things like cake mixes and cookie dough, foods that you can make an activity out of, tend to sell fast before a storm.”
The fastest selling items Tuesday were — as you might expect — things like bottled water, batteries, bread and milk. At Hannaford stores, Blom noted prepared foods like beef patties, shish kebab and rotisserie chicken also sell fast.
“Ahead of severe storms, people think they might have to go without electricity, so they buy things that are already pre-cooked or that they can cook on a grill,” he said. “We also see things like dried fruit and trail mix, items that don’t require a lot of refrigeration.”
At area Price Choppers, fast-selling items also include soda, snacks and beer, as well as practical supplies like rock salt, shovels, scrapers and windshield washer fluid.
“As a business in the Northeast, we have a pretty good feel for what it takes to make sure our customers have what they need,” said Price Chopper spokeswoman Mona Golub. “We have an emergency plan that includes keeping a backup stock of [non-food items] on hand. We watch the weather like hawks and start speaking with suppliers at the first knowledge of an impending storm.”
ShopRite has a similar plan in place, ensuring it has enough bottled water, batteries, bread and milk on hand ahead of a storm. Store spokeswoman Santina Stankevich said chicken is a surprisingly hot item ahead of a storm, though she couldn’t speculate why.
At smaller local stores, stocking up ahead of time isn’t as easy. Storage space is harder to come by at the Niskayuna Co-op, which marketing director Ben Wallach describes as a good thing most days of the year.
“We have high volume and a small store, so that guarantees freshness,” he said.
The 70-year-old co-op was packed Tuesday with shoppers looking for locally sourced milk, eggs and yogurt, he said.
“The staples fly off the shelves,” said Wallach. “Our milk and eggs will be gone by the end of the day.”
Gabriel’s Supermarkets in Scotia and Rotterdam were also busy ahead of today’s storm. In addition to bottled water, milk and bread, cold cuts and other easy-to-prepare food items sold fast Tuesday.
“If they think their kids are going to be home from school, they want snacks and stuff that doesn’t require cooking,” said Jeff Gabriele, who owns the two locations with his brother Rudy.
Local municipalities also kept a close eye on the weather and issued snow emergencies Tuesday in advance of today’s storm. In Glenville, town Supervisor Chris Koetzle declared a snow emergency in effect from 3 a.m. Wednes=day through 9 p.m. Thursday, urging against unnecessary travel and warning residents not to park on town roads.
In Saratoga Springs, a snow emergency will go into effect at 9 a.m. All vehicles, except those on alternate-side parking streets, must be moved to a plowed area. All vehicles must be moved every 12 hours until 9 a.m. Monday.
In nearby Waterford, a snow emergency will begin at 9 a.m., meaning no parking on town roads is allowed.
A snow emergency began Tuesday night in Amsterdam and will continue until further notice. The city reminded residents no parking is allowed on city streets during the snow emergency.
While Albany International Airport will be open, airport officials warned people to expect delays and cancellations during the storm. Most airlines are permitting passengers to re-book flights to or from affected areas, but travelers should consult their airline’s website for more information.
The Capital Region may endure another snow event as soon as Saturday night, said the National Weather Service’s Montgomery. It’s too soon to know for sure, he said, but a storm could drop snow on the region Sunday through Monday, or it could pass the region to the south and east.