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What you need to know for 01/18/2017

No locusts, but get ready

No locusts, but get ready

First came the brush fires, minor so far even though this is the season. Today comes the deluge — an
No locusts, but get ready
Dana Walton, of Guilderland, relaxes on a swing while his 10-year-old son Jaylon pushes 10-month-old Sadie on a swing and their 5-year-old sister Arianna plays on the monkey bars at Fred B. Abele McKownville Park in Guilderland on Monday. The warm weat...
Photographer: Patrick Dodson

First came the brush fires, minor so far even though this is the season. Today comes the deluge — and maybe some localized flooding, thunderstorms and high winds, a precipitous temperature drop and even snow and black ice. Soon enough, the potential for more fires returns.

It could be worse.

“No locusts,” said meteorologist Ian Lee of the National Weather Service. “That’s a good thing.”

Today will feature a cornucopia of weather, all bad, that will call a timeout to the brush fire season that technically started in mid-March.

“We’re thinking right now anywhere from an inch to an inch and half of rain,” Lee said. “There could be a transitioning to wet snow; in the Schenectady area there could be a coating to an inch, and 2 to 3 inches in higher elevation areas.

“The highs will be in the mid 60s,” Lee continued. “Once we get into the evening commute, temperatures will be falling off. By the time we get to 9 o’clock, we will be down to 30s, even the higher 20s.”

Anything else?

“There is a chance for a thunderstorm here and there in the afternoon hours,” Lee said. “If there are thunderstorms, there could be some high winds. It will be gusty regardless, with gusts 30 to 40 mph.”

OK then. Anything else?

“There is a potential for black ice,” Lee said. “People should exercise caution driving or walking [tonight].”

Wait … there’s more?

“There is a possibility Troy will go to minor flooding,” Lee said. “In the Adirondacks, there could be minor flooding, and a couple of points that could go to moderate flooding. This includes the southern Adirondacks into the Lake George-Saratoga Region. There also could be some urban poor-drainage flooding throughout the entire area, in addition to river flooding.

“It’s a multi-hazard storm.”

Wednesday is expected to be sunny but raw and windy, with a high in the 40s. After all that, we can get back to brush fire season.

Forty-six acres of the Pine Bush were slated to go up in flames Monday. That was a good thing, a planned thing, part of a controlled burn.

The other brush fires popping up already this spring: Not a good thing. Not at all.

They have been sporadic and minor here thus far. And the danger will be minuscule today if the weather forecast holds. But after a drawn-out winter, with grass just starting to retain its green, this is the time the region is at risk for fires.

“I always call it the Easter brush fire season,” Schenectady County Fire Coordinator John Nuzbak said.

He said there have already been recent brush fires in Schoharie County and Glenville. There is a ban on open burns until May 15. (Nuzbak also warned people to be especially careful with cigarette butts.)

Although no major brush fires have yet to be reported locally in state Department of Environmental Conservation Region 5, this is the danger season — heavy rains or not.

“You got a lot of dry fuel out there,” DEC spokesman David Winchell said. “We could get 2 inches of rain, but the brush and leaves dry out quickly. It may not take long to get back to a high fire danger.”

At least until it rains again. Or snows. Or floods. Or …

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