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Cleanup continues in storm's aftermath

Cleanup continues in storm's aftermath

More snow expected Tuesday night
Cleanup continues in storm's aftermath
A Schenectady DPW snowplow heads down Van Vranken Avenue during snowstorm cleanup efforts in the city Monday morning.
Photographer: MARC SCHULTZ

It didn't take long to make up for the lack of snow earlier this winter.

The region received just over 20 inches of snow since Thursday, which was as much as it had gotten in the entire winter season preceding the recent storms, according to the National Weather Service. Sunday's storm brought a widespread 10-12 inches of snow.

On Monday, residents using snowblowers on driveways and walkways weren't the only ones trying to catch up. Municipal cleanup crews continued to clear snow from streets and pushed back drifts created by winds of up to 45 mph.

RELATED: Shelters experience busy weekend

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Most communities that imposed snow emergencies lifted them Monday, but others were just switching from basic street plowing to cleanup operations, enacting fresh emergency parking restrictions.

Many schools operated with two-hour delays, but a few districts -- including Schenectady city schools -- were closed entirely. Schenectady school officials cited road conditions for the closure. Albany city schools were also closed for the day.

Schenectady school district spokeswoman Karen Corona said the busing companies that transport students told district officials some roads in the city were inaccessible to buses, primarily narrow streets in and around the Stockade.

The city, which supplements city plow trucks with a private contractor, on Sunday implemented its "priority streets" plan, whereby no parking is allowed for 24 hours on 15 major streets, according to Schenectady police. But the city has not declared a snow emergency.

The town of Glenville's snow emergency began Sunday morning and was lifted at 1 p.m. Monday, eight hours sooner than the original estimate.

"They did a phenomenal job," Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said of highway crews. "They were on it early and finished up by  5 or 6 a.m. (Monday)."

Koetzle estimated the cost of the town's storm response at $21,000 to $22,000, including $10,000 in labor, $6,000 in salt, $3,000 in sand and $2,000 in diesel fuel. It was a more expensive storm than Thursday's system, he said, because it hit on the weekend. As a result, 20 town highway employees were earning overtime from the start.

"It's expensive every time it snows," he said.

Clifton Park lifted its snow emergency at 5:30 a.m., but Highway Superintendent Dahn Bull urged residents to cooperate whenever storms hit.

"Residents, please do not park or leave unattended vehicles on roads and streets during a period of snowfall, sleet, freezing rain or other winter-type weather," Bull wrote in an email message. "These rules apply for the 48-hour period after precipitation ceases in order for crews to continue the clearing of town roadways."

Saratoga Springs began its snow emergency cleanup at 9 p.m. Monday, and it was expected to last through 9 p.m. Wednesday. Residents who park on the street are being asked to move their vehicles at least every 12 hours, said city Public Works Commissioner Anthony "Skip" Scirocco.

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State Department of Transportation spokesman Bryan Viggiani said state plows were out "hitting drifts' and salting on Monday, and he urged drivers to hold their speeds down, even when a highway looks clear.

"You'll be going along on the Northway, and suddenly a squall comes up; it's a good idea not to be speeding," he said.

The National Weather Service in Albany reported that, as of Monday morning, its official weather measurement at Albany International Airport was 20.6 inches since Thursday -- exactly matching the 20.6 inches received over a series of small storms to hit the region since the first measurable snowfall on Oct. 27. For the season to date, total snow is now 41.2 inches, one inch more than the normal average by this point in the winter.

"It's incredible how a couple of big storms in four days can really change the totals," said Weather Service Meteorologist Joe Villiani.

For Tuesday, the weather service was forecasting some relief from the stormy conditions -- at least the winds will calm down, and the temperature get up to around freezing. But there's a chance of a little more snow -- maybe 1-3 inches, closer in scope to earlier storms of the season -- overnight Tuesday into Wednesday.

Beyond that, Villiani said a warmup is in store for the weekend.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

Daily Gazette reporter Zachary Matson contributed to this report.

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