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Winter arrives with a wallop

Winter arrives with a wallop

Up to two feet of snow expected for northern counties of Capital Region in what could be biggest storm since 2017
Winter arrives with a wallop
Joe Cheetham of Avenue A in Schenectady tries to keep up with the snow accumulation in his driveway Saturday.
Photographer: PETER R. BARBER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER

The biggest snowstorm in the Capital Region since 2017 was on track late Saturday to drop an average of 18 to 20 inches of snow across a good portion of the Capital Region by the time it winds down.

Joe Cebulko, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Albany, said Saturday that the areas set for the heaviest snowfall were Fulton, Montgomery and Saratoga counties — with up to 24 inches of snow expected for parts of those counties.

Members of the public seem to have taken heed of warnings of the snow storm, likely the biggest since March 14, 2017, when 15.5 inches covered the area. Sheriff's departments of Fulton, Montgomery and Saratoga counties reported no accidents late Saturday.

The service asked people on Twitter Sunday morning for their snow totals. A Clifton Park resident reported 12 inches and sleet, a Ballston Spa resident 13 inches and sleet and a Johnstown resident 14 inches.

Nationally, at least nine people, including a state trooper who was responding to a crash, have been killed as this winter storm has battered the Midwest before working its way into the Northeast, disrupting train, airplane and motor vehicle travel, causing sporadic utility service interruptions and testing the response of municipal public works, emergency management and social services workers.

The storm, which complicated travel and busted plans for the three-day weekend across much of the country, caused problems from Kansas, where the governor declared an emergency, to New England, where forecasters predicted up to 2 feet of snow and warned of avalanches.

The fallout was bleak for travelers: Flights were canceled by the thousands and officials gave stern warnings to stay off the roads.

By Saturday evening, the worst of the storm had crossed the Appalachian Mountains and was advancing toward the East Coast, where the brunt of the snowfall was expected overnight Saturday and into Sunday. But the scope of the storm remained impressive, with precipitation falling from southeast Missouri to upstate New York.

Cebulko said the storm formed over the Pacific Ocean several days ago and crossed the United States before hitting the Capital Region. He said the system progressed as predicted, and snowfall is expected to taper off during the morning and end with some light flurries in early afternoon.

"The only significant change we've seen from the forecast of the previous few days is there's a little more warmer air with the system a little farther north than we had thought," Cebulko said.

Also: Where are the Schenectady snow plows? Find out online, Jan. 19, 2019

The National Weather Service was predicting freezing rain for parts of Albany County and southern Schenectady and Saratoga counties if evening temperatures aloft rose high enough.

Cebulko said the predicted snowfall for Albany was between 8 and 12 inches, which wouldn't crack the top three snowfalls recorded. Currently in third place is 17.9 inches recorded in Albany in 1936. He said the National Weather Service in Albany will post a snowfall map to its website www.weather.gov/aly, on Monday.

 In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned tractor-trailers and buses on most interstates for the duration of the storm. And in Rhode Island, state troopers warned that residents might encounter icy roads if they left home to watch the New England Patriots play the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night before the storm had headed out to sea.

Locally, Code Blue homeless shelters were in operation in Saratoga Springs, Albany and Glens Falls to help get the homeless off the streets for the weather event.

Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy, like municipal leaders throughout the Capital Region, issued a snow storm warning to city residents and restricted parking on priority streets. McCarthy warned that anyone parked on these designated thoroughfares may be ticketed or towed. Those priority streets include: 

• Van Vranken Avenue

• Nott Street (Erie Boulevard to Wendell Avenue)

• Union Street

• Eastern Avenue

• Brandywine Avenue (State Street to Rugby Road)

• McClellan Street (State Street to Rugby Road)

• State Street

• Erie Boulevard (State Street to I-890)

• Albany Street (Veeder Avenue to Elm Street)

• Altamont Avenue

• Schuyler Street (Michigan Avenue to Altamont Avenue)

• Michigan Avenue

• Crane Street

• Chrisler Avenue

• Broadway (State Street to the city line)

• Campbell Avenue (Broadway to Fairview Avenue)


Amsterdam Mayor Michael Villa declared a snow emergency requiring all vehicles to be removed from being parked on city streets starting at noon on Saturday. Villa provided a list of city-owned parking lots:

City Hall


Post Office Lot

Guy Park Avenue Extension (Kirk Douglas parking)

Golf Course Lot

Vet’s Field (upper field along Locust Avenue Roosevelt Road and the road to the pool building

Morris St. Parking Lot

East Main Street and DeGraff Street (both lots)

Between Vrooman & Lefferts (behind Art Center)

Eagle & East Main Street (lot)

Dean & East Main streets (lot)

47 Reid Street Lot

Milton Avenue between 1st & 2nd avenues

Prospect Street (Upper, near Elizabeth Street)

Chestnut & Lincoln (basketball court lot)

Bunn & Thomas St. (lot)\

Greene & Mechanic St. (lot)\

Union & Orange St. (lot)

Union St. (between Brandt & McDonnell lot)

Clinton & Division St. (lot)

Bridge St. (next to bakery)

197 Florida Ave. (lot)

Pedestrian Bridge Lot/Chalmers 

Church Street & Willow Street (Park & Ride Lot)

Main Street (next to old Key Bank Building)

Grove Street – EASTERN SIDE ONLY 

Minaville Street (Lot)

No power outages were reported by National Grid for the Capital Region late Saturday.

On Friday, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany told parishes that they may cancel, delay, postpone, or reschedule Masses for Sunday, if necessary.

"In the event of a cancellation, Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger has dispensed the faithful from their Sunday obligation," states a news release from the diocese. According to diocese specific decisions about individual parishes and Mass schedules will be determined and communicated by the local leadership of those affected parishes.

Those who cannot safely participate at Mass in person are encouraged to visit the diocesan website for links to Masses that are live-streamed and broadcast on television or radio: www.rcda.org/livemass.

Although the snow is expected to stop by early afternoon temperatures are expected by the National Weather Service to drop by Sunday night, with predictions of temperatures ranging from 0 to minus 5 by Monday, but the wind chill will likely drop things to minus 20.

Wire service reports have been included with this story.

 

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