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Icy conditions part of first storm of season

Icy conditions part of first storm of season

Fun for some, but one fatality and several accidents show hazardous side of the Capital Region's fir
Icy conditions part of first storm of season
Saratoga Springs city employees clear snow on Gridley Street, near Saratoga Race Course, after the first snowfall of the season in the region on Tuesday Dec. 29, 2015.
Photographer: Erica Miller

Parker Lachanski, 7, and Sam DiLallo, 9, didn’t realize how icy the roads were Tuesday morning, because there was snow beneath their sleds as they headed down a short, steep hill in Scotia’s Collins Park.

“Do you have a camera or a video camera?” Parker asked as he balanced himself, standing on his sled, and started to slide down the hill. “Because this will be awesome if you get it.”

Freezing drizzle added an icy boost to the sledding terrain Tuesday as Parker, Sam and others enjoyed the latest first winter snowstorm on record.

But there was a serious and hazardous side to the ice. One man died in an auto accident, and several people were involved in accidents because of road conditions.

The fatal accident claimed the life of Albany resident James Davis, 22, a state corrections officer who was killed on I-90 in East Greenbush around 1:30 a.m. when a tractor-trailer collided with Davis’ car on his way home from work, state police said.

The driver of the truck was not injured; the accident closed lanes on the highway for nine hours.


An abundance of Gazette followers on www.facebook.com/DailyGazette give road crews low grades for their work during Tuesday's winter storm.

Meanwhile, State Police based in Princetown said they had responded to nine accidents and five disabled vehicles as of 2 p.m., with the majority coming from incidents on I-88 and I-890.

State Police said they responded to at least 22 accidents on Albany-area highways,

In Schenectady, 1 to 2 inches of snow fell, and a tenth to two-tenths of an inch of ice built up.

Farther north, Saratoga Springs and the southern Adirondacks fell into a band that received 3 to 4 inches of snow overnight. As the storm wore on in the morning, the snow turned to sleet and eventually freezing rain.

State and local road crews returned to winter mode, gearing up last night to pre-treat roads and starting to plow as soon as the snow hit the ground. By the morning commute, roads and highways were still messy, with slush and some icy patches troubling drivers.

A handful of incidents slowed traffic on I-90 between Albany and Schenectady, with the New York State Department of Transportation assisting multiple drivers near the I-90 interchange with I-890.

DOT spokesman Bryan Viggiani said the Region 1 office deployed 150 plow trucks through the night and morning across its eight-county jurisdiction, which includes Schenectady, Albany and Saratoga counties.

By late-afternoon, Viggiani said, state crews were in “clean-up mode,” clearing slush and salting the roads to limit the chance of overnight refreezing.

In Schenectady, city road crews mobilized as many as 25 trucks throughout the storm, and Mayor Gary McCarthy said the storm clean-up ran smoothly. He said there were “surprisingly few” calls into City Hall, suggesting residents were in a festive holiday mood and calmed by the late start to winter. He said police didn’t respond to any major accidents during the storm.

“We are one day closer to spring,” McCarthy said.

Schenectady County deployed 21 snowplows through the storm, laying 895 pounds of salt per lane mile, said Steve Lichorat, a road maintenance supervisor.

Overnight lows Tuesday were expected to hover at or above freezing, keeping a major re-freezing at bay, National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Montgomery said.

There is a chance of rain Wednesday evening, as well as a chance of rain and snow overnight Wednesday and into Thursday. But any precipitation is expected to be a fraction of an inch, and New Year’s Eve is projected to stay dry in the Capital Region, with temperatures around 30 degrees overnight.

“Compared to what we just endured, that will be a walk in the park,” Montgomery said.

Material from The Associated Press is included in this report.

Reach Gazette reporter Zachary Matson at 395-3120, [email protected]

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