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What you need to know for 03/24/2018

New snow puts March 2018 in top 10 for snow

New snow puts March 2018 in top 10 for snow

Some areas received 8 inches on Tuesday
New snow puts March 2018 in top 10 for snow
Patty Shendler of Rotterdam walks her dog Brandy on Warrior Path near Mohonasen High School Tuesday.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

CAPITAL REGION -- Tuesday's steady snow helped set a record in the Capital Region.

By 8:30 p.m., the day's snowfall total of eight inches measured at  Albany International Airport pushed this month's total accumulation to 32 inches -- good enough to tie for fifth place on the 10 all-time snowiest months of March. Eleven inches of snowfall is normal for the month.

Tom Wasula, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany, said some areas received significant evening accumulation -- around one inch per hour.

"We think we'll have light snow in the overnight hours," Wasula said, adding that snow showers were possible.

There will also be Wednesday morning snowflakes.

"Accumulation will be a dusting to a half-inch in the morning," Wasula said. "That's what we're looking for in the Capital District."

Light snow that began falling during the early morning hours may not have impressed many people: It did not cover streets, sidewalks or parking lots. Temperatures that reached the low 30s for much of the day ensured flakes did not stick around.

"During the daylight hours, unless it's snowing very heavily, it's hard to accumulate on pavement surfaces," said Kevin Lipton, a meteorologist also with the National Weather Service in Albany.

By evening, snow had covered pavement and some roads were slippery.

"Nothing major," said a dispatcher for the Saratoga County Sheriff's Department. "Fingers crossed. People are staying off the roads tonight."

"Roads seem to be OK," said Sgt. Matt Dearing of the Schenectady Police Department, in a text message. Dearing added that officers were not on any accident calls during the mid-evening hours.

With Tuesday's snow and 32-inch monthly total -- so far - March 2018 ties March 1971. 

The top spot will likely stay with March 1888, when 50.9 inches of snow fell. Most of that came March 11-14 -- a 46.7-inch storm that has always been regarded as the biggest in Capital Region history. 

This March has been bolstered by two decent-sized storms. Lipton said 11.9 inches fell on March 2. Another 11.9 inches fell during the storm that spanned March 7-8.

The snowy March has given people more opportunities for skiing and snowshoeing. Downhill ski centers make their own snow; cross-country ski places generally must rely on nature's winter bounty.

Ray Perry, director of the Five Rivers Environmental Education Center in Delmar, believes a triple play has helped put more people on the center's 10 miles of nature trails.

 "We've had an increase in visits, an increase in snow so an increase in skiers as well," Perry said.

Skiing at Five Rivers is also an exercise in economy. It doesn't cost anything to ski at the 445-acre site, although skiers must understand winter is not exclusively for skiers. Nature groups and snowshoers are also on the grounds, and cross-country paths are sometimes trampled.

Perry said more skiers have been at the center this winter than in past winters. He said temperatures in the 30s have put moisture in the snow. This has caused some sticky skiing conditions.

"It hasn't been ideal skiing but certainly it's been good for getting out and about," Perry said. "When we have good snow, the parking lot on the weekend is full by early afternoon."

Mike Kausch, one of the owner's at Goldstock's Sporting Goods in Glenville, says skiers are planning for extra trail time.

"We had five pairs of skis in for tune-ups during the first hours we were open," Kausch said, adding that he generally does not see that extra revenue during late winter.

"March is normally not a real good month because of transition," he said. "We sell a lot of baseball equipment, a lot of softball equipment, we're starting to get kayaks in, stuff like that."

Kausch said that while Collins Lake was full of men and women ice fishing a few weeks ago, he hadn't sold a huge amount of ice fishing equipment. But the ski business has picked up lately because of the late snow.

"When there's snow in the backyard, people want to ski and do activities outside, like snowshoe, cross-country," Kausch said. "But it's got to be in the backyard."

Paul Zahray, who along with his wife, Kathy, owns Lapland Lake Nordic Vacation Center in Northville, said all land-based trails on the 300-acre site are open. 

"This March is delightful," Zahray said. "A lot of people have said it's the best skiing conditions of the season. If we could order the weather, we wouldn't do anything different."

There are up to two feet of packed snow on Lapland. And unlike January and February, which Zahray said was a mix of cold, some snow and some warm-ups, March has been consistent.

"Every weekend in March has been a good one," Zahray said. "This weekend looks good."

Here are the top 10 snowiest Marches on record in the Capital Region, according to the Weather Service. Because of the 1971 and 2018 tie for fifth, only nine numbers are listed:

1. 1888, 50.9 inches

2. 1916, 37.9 inches

3. 1956, 34.7 inches

4. 1993, 34.3 inches

5. 2018, 32.0 inches

5. 1971, 32.0 inches

6. 2001, 30.6 inches

7. 1959, 29.1 inches

8. 1984, 28.2 inches

9. 1967, 26.2 inches

March 2005, when 25.9 inches of snow fell, is no longer in the top March snow list.

"We've still got a while to go," Lipton said. "There's still time to get more snowstorms in March. We could get within the top five if we get a few more snowstorms. But I think very few people want to see that."

Reach Daily Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 518-395-3124 or at wilkin@dailygazette.com.


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