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Storm Hits Hard In The Hudson Valley

Courtesy of Orange County government

More than half a foot of snow had fallen in portions of the Hudson Valley by about 8:30 this morning. The forecast calls for some two-to-three feet to blanket the region. The Nor’easter was predicted days ago, and its severity has most offices closed, transportation ground to a halt, and states of emergency in effect. Metro-North Railroad suspended service at noon. 

Winter Storm Stella’s got her groove across much of the WAMC listening area. There are blizzard and winter storm warnings in effect in throughout New York. Blizzard conditions are hanging over the Hudson Valley with the exception of the upper Hudson Valley, which is under a winter storm warning. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency that began at midnight

“The storm in the New York City area is not as bad as anticipated,” Cuomo says. “The problem is it is worse than anticipated in other areas of the state.”

He delivered a storm briefing mid-morning.

“Mid-Hudson area up to the Capital District has been hit very hard, 18-20 inches,” says Cuomo. “Blizzard conditions are still forecasted for the Mid-Hudson and the Capital District, although the blizzard warning for New York City and Long Island has been lifted.”

He says the Southern Tier and Central New York are hardest-hit. There is a travel ban for all of Broome County.

“We have 5,000 pieces of equipment, primarily plows, that have been deployed all across the state,” Cuomo says. “We have about 2,000 National Guard who have been deployed all across the state, and we’ll now be shifting those deployments more towards Central New York.”

The MTA’s Veronique Hakim says Metro-North Railroad suspended service at noon.

“Our plans going forward is to get our service back up and running for a normal a.m. rush hour tomorrow morning,” Hakim says. “And I would assure you all that we have 46,000 men and women in the various MTA agencies working hard to create a safe environment for that a.m. rush tomorrow morning.”

Cuomo says a travel ban remains in effect for all tractor trailers on I-81; I-84; I-86/Route 17; I-88, and the Thruway. National Weather Service Albany Meteorologist Joe Celbuko expects heavy snowfall and possibly whiteout conditions with blowing and drifting snow into the mid-afternoon hours. He says some of the highest accumulations have been reported in Dutchess and Ulster Counties.

“It looks like pretty much the entire greater Capital region and points southeastward should see the highest totals,” says Celbuko.

He says there is an end in sight.

“It should start tapering off in the late afternoon hours,” says Celbuko. “And then overnight there will definitely still be some lingering snow showers, but the bulk of the heavy snow should be ending about maybe 7, 8 o’clock tonight.”

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro says he’s seen forecasts leaving his county with some 30 inches of snow.

“Today at 4:30 a.m., Dutchess County declared a local state of emergency and we’ve prohibited all vehicular travel throughout the county. And that will remain in effect until the storm has passed us through,” Molinaro says. “I would be somewhat prepared for that state of emergency and travel ban to extend possibly into tomorrow morning.”

He says, so far, there have been no out of the ordinary incidents, 9-1-1 call volume is usual and there are just minor power outages. Celbuko says winds will pick up this afternoon and temperatures are forecast to remain below freezing the next few days.

“1, 2, 3 o’clock the winds will really start picking up,” says Celbuko. “You’re looking at 15-25 mile-an-hour sustained winds later today with gusts up to 45 miles-an-hour.”

He says the storm could go down in the record books.

“I’m looking at a graphic here for top 20 greatest snowstorms at Albany, New York, and number 10 at 20.8 inches. Number 20’s at 17.6 inches,” Celbuko says. “So depending on how much snow we actually get and where the banding sets up, we could approach a top 20 record snowfall.”

He says the 20.8 inches was in 2003 and the 17.6 inches, in 1958. Meanwhile, States of Emergency are in effect in many counties, towns and villages throughout the Hudson Valley region. Orange County is under one until 11 tonight. Ulster County Executive Mike Hein expects to lift his state of emergency at 8 p.m.

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