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Winter's On A Roll

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

The latest storm is upon us, and once again the region is dealing with slippery commutes, snow emergencies, and school closings and delays.

It's a "rinse and repeat" playback of last Monday: roads in poor condition from Rochester back through the Mohawk Valley, Hudson Valley eastward into New England and points south.  Conditions are expected to improve once the snow stops falling and the plows keep plowing.

Officially, a winter storm warning is in effect across a broad swath of upstate New York, where the National Weather Service says as much as 9 to 18 inches is expected from the Catskills to the southern Adirondacks by the time it's over early Tuesday.  Check with your local municipality for dates, times and parking rules as declarations of snow emergencies are called.

Alex Marra is a forecaster with Hudson Valley Weather, which he says ended up being the "battle ground" with this storm... "...with freezing rain and sleet falling across the lower portions of the Hudson Valley with a pure snowstorm from about the mid-Hudson Valley north all the way up through the Capital Region. We always knew that the boundary would set up somewhere through the Hudson Valley. It decided to be Interstate 84 South, which they've endured a prolonged series of freezing rain and sleet, while just north of there most locations are reporting anywhere from 4 to 8 inches at this point."

Credit WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

New York's climate change-conscious governor, Andrew Cuomo, issued what is becoming a customary advisory urging caution on the roads.     "In all reality, when it comes to the climate change debate, obviously it's hard to take sides, we only have a couple hundred years of climate data from most stations when we're talking average snowfall, average temperatures. If you look at this winter thus far, December actually finished above-average temperature-wise and below average in participation. It was actually a mild month. January finished about three degrees, give or take, below normal, with above normal precipitation, and so far February, a little over a week in, in almost 12 degrees below normal. But again, it's normal based on an average hundred, a hundred plus years."

Crews are out plowing and treating 440 miles of Albany County roads: Scott Duncan with the Highway Department tells NewsChannel13:      “We're usin' a lot of material right now, tryin' to keep the roads safe. The problem we're having right now is this is a three or four day storm. We don't have unlimited salt. We don't have unlimited manpower.”

And the snow continues falling, the storm clouds continue moving eastward... in Utica, WKTV Meteorologist Bill Kardas is monitoring all:   "What we're dealing with right now is an area of low pressure coming in form Pennsylvania, and we're getting widespread snowfall.  We've picked up about 6 to 8 inches in our local area that includes Oneida, Herkimer and Otsego County, some of the hilltops got a little bit more than that. We're about three-quarters of the way through the event, we're expecting snowfall totals in our area between about 8 to 12 inches."

The weather has forced cancelations of several events from west to east.  

Crisp conditions couldn't stop Sandy Steubing and People of Albany United For Safe Energy from braving the elements to stage a noon-hour demonstration in downtown Albany:   "We are standing in front of the Department of Environmental Conservation Today to recognize and honor a proclamation signed by the Albany County Legislature, and this proclamation calls on the DEC to fulfill their mandate to protect the safety and health of New Yorkers."

The action concerns Global Oil's plans to install boilers at the Port of Albany to heat crude oil as it is transported through the area.    "PAUSE has never been one to delay our protests and demonstrations because of the weather," adds Steubing.

Nevertheless, those Albany County Legislators opted to move their regularly scheduled meeting to Tuesday evening...

The weather has prompted Amtrak to cancel portions of its passenger train service in upstate New York:  Empire Service trains No. 230 and 234 from Albany-Rensselaer to New York City, No. 235 from New York City to Albany-Rensselaer and No. 281 from the city to Niagara Falls, New York, are canceled Monday.

Amtrak train
Credit Jared C. Benedict/Wikimedia Commons

Empire Service train No. 280 from Niagara Falls to New York City is canceled on Tuesday.

But the true test of a northeast winter is just ahead of us: — forecaster Marra warns frigid weather will follow the snow later this week:     "It'll be the end of this week, and then into the following week. Friday, Saturday, Sunday into the beginning of next, some of the coldest air of the season is on its way."

Forecasters warn us to expect subzero nighttime readings Thursday through Saturday.

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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