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Season's first major snowstorm prompts closures, cancellations

Season's first major snowstorm prompts closures, cancellations

Hazardous driving, traveling conditions expected through Monday evening
Season's first major snowstorm prompts closures, cancellations
A bundled-up person operates a snowblower at the intersection of Union Street and Maryland Avenue late Sunday evening.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber / Gazette Photographer

The Capital Region spent Sunday bracing for and coping with the first serious winter storm of the season.

The National Weather Service in Albany on Saturday predicted that a winter storm traveling over the central part of the U.S. was going to continue to push eastward during the day Sunday and Monday, resulting in mounds of snow dropping onto the area, as well as a slew of mixed winter precipitation.

As a result, the NWS issued a wide-reaching winter storm warning in effect until 7 a.m. on Tuesday, alerting Capital Region residents about heavy snow, with total accumulations of 20 inches possible in some areas.

Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Saratoga, Washington and Warren counties are either partially or fully under the winter storm warning.  

As of Sunday, while the National Weather Service in Albany was largely sticking to its original accumulation projections, it was also including the formation of ice in its winter storm warning.

"Travel could be very difficult to impossible," the NWS in Albany said in its warning statement. "The hazardous conditions could impact the Monday morning and evening commutes."

Municipalities started preparing for the snow ahead of the storm's arrival. In anticipation of the snowfall, Amsterdam Mayor Michael Villa issued a snow emergency on Saturday, set to start at 9 p.m. on Sunday, which means no parking will be allowed on city streets until the emergency is lifted.

The City of Schenectady automatically institutes parking bans for priority streets as soon as there are three inches of snow.

These are the streets where parking is banned after three inches of snowfall: 
• 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)

The Town of Clifton Park reminded its residents about parking restrictions that are put into place during winter storms, which include no parking on town roadways.

"Adherence to this regulation allows our plows to remove snow and ice properly, effectively apply salt treatment to the roadways and allows officers to respond to other matters. Vehicles parked in the roadway can create dangerous conditions, further narrow clearance in the road and cause problems for neighbors," the town's highway department said in a message released over the weekend.

On Sunday afternoon, just as the snow started to come down in full force, the Rotterdam Highway Superintendent issued a snow emergency for the Town of Rotterdam effective at midnight Sunday until midnight on Tuesday. During a snow emergency, there is no parking allowed on any town roadways.

Other organizations, including churches, libraries and other senior centers closed early on Sunday. The Town of Halfmoon, in a press release sent out on Sunday, announced that it would postpone its memorial tree lighting ceremony slated for Sunday due to the hazardous conditions.

Some school districts, decided not to wait until Monday to act to address the storm. 

Mekeel Christian Academy, the Mohonasen Central School District, the Saratoga Springs City School District and the Schuylerville Central School District had declared school closed on Monday as of Sunday evening.

Capital District YMCA followed suit somewhat, announcing Sunday evening that local branch openings would be delayed until 7 a.m. Monday, will all morning classes and programs cancelled. 

By the time Sunday evening hit, Gov. Andrew Cuomo had put the New York National Guard on standby to address the storm and activated the state’s Emergency Operations Center. Power utility companies also announced crews on standby to deal with power outages.

Later Sunday evening, Cuomo issued another release, directing non-essential state employees who reside in the Capital Region to stay home on Monday due to the weather forecast. 

The release also announced that speeds on major roadways, including the Thruway (I-90) between Syracuse and Albany, the Thruway (I-87) from Exit 24 to Exit 15 and the Berkshire Spur, and I-88 from Binghamton to I-90 have been reduced to a maximum of 45 miles per hour.  

National Grid issued a news release Saturday stating the company is preparing line, service and tree workers to respond if the weather impacts electricity service. The company advises people who witness downed lines should immediately report the information to National Grid at 1-800-867-5222 or by calling 911.

National Grid advises power customers looking for real time power outage information to log onto www.nationalgridus.com/Upstate-NY-Home/Storms-Outages/Outage-Central. 

New York State Electric and Gas Corporation also issued an advisory warning about possible outages due to the storm and noted that NYSEG would be providing outage updates throughout the storm via social media channels and other alert systems. To report a power outage, NYSEG customers should call 1-800-572-1131.

Content Editor Lianne Webster-Kim contributed to this article. 

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