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#Juno2015 Preparations Under Way

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been monitoring Juno's progress throughout the day: he declared a state of emergency for all downstate counties throughout the Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island. Juno joins a list of blizzards and “superstorms” characterized as  “unprecedented, ““crippling, “ and “historic. “ Forecasts are calling for a combination of high winds and powdery snow.

In Albany, Mayor Kathy Sheehan called a press conference at the Department of General Services headquarters Monday afternoon to speak about how residents can stay safe in the storm expected to impact the region through late Tuesday.     "It's important when we have storms like this that we take the opportunity to remind people about the precautions that they should be taking and about the services that are available to them. And what we're gonna be doing to ensure that everybody stays safe. So I wanna start by saying that we have pro-actively decided that we are gonna declare a snow emergency that will start at 8 o'clock on Tuesday night."

Sheehan says with another storm forecast for the area Friday, clear streets will be top priority. She urged citizens to watch the city's social media accounts or by dialing 476-SNOW for updates.

Despite an abundance of dire predictions, Juno appears to be no match for the infamous Blizzard of 1888, which dumped nearly 47 inches of snow on Albany, and a paltry 21 inches on New York City.

The University at Albany is overseeing a state-of-the-art early warning detection network, the NYS Mesonet, centerpiece of the Department of Homeland Security's New York State Early Warning Weather Detection System. Mesonet links 125 weather stations across the state, with at least one site in every county.

Project Director Dr. Jerry Brotzge explains the $23.6 million initiative is built to detect weather patterns and phenomena.    "We'll measure precipitation, wind speed and direction, temperature, moisture and pressure and we'll be collecting that data every 5 minutes from all those sites across the entire state. Another key point is that 17 of those sites will also take vertical measurements throughout the atmosphere of temperature, moisture and wind. And that will also be sampled every 5 minutes. That will allow us a 3-dimensional view of what's going on with developing weather systems. “

The data, collected in real-time,  will assist the National Weather Service in providing more accurate long-term forecasting. 

Albany International Airport officials say the facility will remain open during the storm to accept diverted aircraft.  Significant flight cancelations are expected on Tuesday as the storm intensifies.  Southwest Airlines has already canceled all flights out of Albany on Tuesday.

United Airlines has suspended all flights to Newark until further notice.

Transit officials say there will be limited MTA service after 7 p.m. The governor’s office says it anticipates the Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road will be closed at 11 p.m.

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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