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What you need to know for 01/17/2018

Region weathers another storm

Region weathers another storm

Almost every flight out of Albany International Airport was canceled Thursday afternoon, children go
Region weathers another storm
Glenville DPW crews load spreader trucks with sand and salt, just as the storm hit the area on Thursday morning.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

Almost every flight out of Albany International Airport was canceled Thursday afternoon, children got out of school early and snow fell in wind-blown heaps throughout the day.

Despite the snow, though, most drivers avoided serious accidents, according to police.

“They’re mostly just fender-benders. Everybody seems to be taking it slow,” said Schenectady police spokesman Lt. Mark McCracken, who added there were no injuries reported as of 6 p.m., after nine hours of snowfall.

As of 9 p.m. Wednesday, as much as a foot of snow had fallen on parts of the region, according to the National Weather Service. However, an additional 8 to 12 inches was expected overnight as the storm’s second wave was to drop snow at rates of as much as 3 inches an hour.

In Albany, things were going so well during the day Wednesday, police spokesman Steven Smith almost used the word “quiet.”

“It’s been relatively Q-word,” he said. “It’s been pretty low-key.”

But having a good car was almost as important as driving carefully, he said. He’d switched cars with his wife, since she had to work late, when the snow would be heavier. He was finding it much harder going than he’d expected.

“I’m sliding all over the place,” he said. “It’s coming down. It’s unbelievable.”

Paramedics and other public safety workers reported occasional problems on hilly streets. At one point, a plow couldn’t clear the Balltown Road hill in Niskayuna because so many cars were stuck or sliding into snowbanks, according to police radio traffic.

In hilly towns, police had braced for more serious accidents, but that didn’t happen. There were only calls for cars sliding off the road and other minor incidents, they said.

One East Greenbush dispatcher said he thought drivers might have finally learned how to drive in the snow.

“Well, they should have,” he said. “This is what, the sixth storm?”

But driving safely to the airport didn’t help pilots at Albany International Airport. Wind gusts of as much as 30 mph, along with heavy snow, led to widespread cancellations.

Southwest gave in first, canceling all flights after 9:50 a.m. US Airways followed at noon. Delta canceled, as well. In total, 39 arriving and 24 departing flights were canceled, according to an airport spokesman.

It was a heavy travel day, with more than 4,500 passengers expected, but the bulk of those travelers were expected to fly out between 5 and 8 a.m. — before conditions forced airlines to halt operations.

Airport officials said many passengers booked flights for Thursday and today so they could get a head start on school’s winter vacation week — which starts after school dismisses today. Airlines are trying to re-book passengers, but it’s not yet clear when flights will resume.

Delta said it would start flying again at 12:30 p.m. today, and US Airways said it would try to resume flights this morning, depending on weather conditions.

While schools closed, the show went on in other places. Proctors went ahead with its Alton Brown show Thursday evening, with Brown even tweeting entreaties begging his fans to brave the snow.

“Come on Schenectady, don’t let me down,” he wrote.

The Flurry in Saratoga Springs won’t cancel, either. Organizers sent out a news release announcing the weekend dance and music festival was the best way to recover from a snowy week.

“No better way to shake off that cabin fever,” they wrote, adding that their venues will be “toasty warm” and filled with music, dancing and storytelling.

“Never fear,” they wrote. “The Flurry Festival is on!”

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