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Northeast Braces For Major Winter Storm

An Albany snowplow truck stands ready for action.
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
An Albany snowplow truck stands ready for action.

People are being urged to stay off the roads as a major winter storm settles over the Northeast.

States of emergency have been called from New York’s Hudson Valley north to New England, with anywhere from 4 inches to 2 feet of snow expected.

Governor Andrew Cuomo directed state agencies to mobilize emergency response resources as a storm spreading into New York is expected to become a full-fledged a nor'easter.

Albany city officials outlined their storm-fighting strategy Monday morning at DGS headquarters.

"Our operation started yesterday," said Sergio Panunzio, Albany's Commissioner of the Department of General Services. "Last night we had our mechanics in, all of our equipment is up and running. We have 100% of our equipment. Currently, we are expecting eight to 12 inches of snow, beginning at 1 p.m. today till about 5 a.m. tomorrow morning. That's a considerable amount of snowfall. Expected snowfall for ranges between 1.3 to 1.5 inches per hour, which is a manageable, manageable snowfall. As of 6 a.m. this morning we had about 47 pieces of equipment out. That's just a first wave. We started prepping the streets. We've started pre-salting treats and pre-treating the street problem areas that we know we have a problem with the climate."

Snowplow trucks at the Albany DGS garage.
Credit WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
Snowplow trucks at the Albany DGS garage.

Panunzio says as the day wears on augmented contractors will join the battle to clear roads.

"What we're asking everyone to do is to be patient," he said. "We are we have a snow plan which is working together with the police and fire. We have emergency routes that we have to maintain open, those are primary routes. Give you an example. New Scotland has two hospitals in it, that road has to be maintained constantly 24/7 there is no excuse. Those events that the also there are other streets in throughout the city, where the fire department and police departments are concerned about getting across town in emergency situation. So the primary roads will be taken care of. We will not get into the second day road until the primary roads satisfactory to everyone, so a fire engine police car or an ambulance will not get stuck. The secondary roads will be any one that crosses all primary roads, from one end to primary roles the other primary roads so that the vehicle emergency field to get across down instead of uptown to get also cross down and then our tertiary roads and our dead ends will be done last.”

Mayor Kathy Sheehan says don’t travel if you don't have to.

"You know, one of the biggest challenges we have is when we have lots of cars that are parked on both sides of a street," Sheehan said. "So even if you don't have alternate side parking, you know, get together with your neighbors, pick a side, and we can assure you if you're able to do that, you'll be happy with the results, because we'll be able to get down your streets and keep them plowed. We're gonna be doing all that we can to keep up with this storm. Depending on the final snowfall amounts, we'll be making a determination as to whether we're going to declare a snow emergency."

Sheehan says that the city should be able to keep up with the storm and has not asked the state for assistance, but noted the option is available if needed.

  • For a complete listing of weather watches and warnings in your area, visit your area's National Weather Service website.
Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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