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Winter Storm: The Cleanup Begins

Lucas Willard
The cleanup begins outside WAMC on Central Avenue in Albany

It’s the day after one of the biggest March storms in memory and people are digging out. WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports on what’s happening in some communities in the Capital Region as streets are being cleared.

The National Weather Service is reporting snowfall totals from Tuesday morning and Wednesday between 12 and as much as 30 inches in the greater Capital Region. And some areas may still see some light snow today.

The winter storm that slammed the Northeast brought traffic to a halt and caused many municipalities to declare snow emergencies.

As the digging out began Wednesday morning, some officials were still urging residents to get their vehicles off the road.

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan spoke at City Hall.

“It’s really important that people heed the snow emergency. We do not want to tow cars. We experienced some significant challenges in plowing streets yesterday because people literally abandoned their cars, sometimes in the middle of the street, which meant that our plows couldn’t get down that street. When we called for towing assistance, the tow companies were not able to respond in many instances because they were so overwhelmed with calls for this storm,” said Sheehan.

Neighborhoods and side streets remain clogged with snow in Albany.

Commissioner of General Services Dan Mirabile reiterated a call for patience issued ahead of the storm, saying that it would take several days to clear all the snow.

“Our primary focus was on the main roads, connector roads. Unfortunately, side streets, it was hours if not all day before we were able to get there. And I did say until the end of the day today, you wouldn’t see pavement and those side streets would not be pushed back,” said Mirable.

The Albany snow emergency begins at 8 p.m. today. During the first 24 hours, all vehicles must be parked on the even numbered side of the street. In the following 24 hours, it’s the odd-side.

The City of Cohoes declared a snow emergency beginning Tuesday at 8 p.m. Mayor Shawn Morse spoke to WAMC Wednesday morning — grateful to residents for moving their cars off the road.

“The day before the snow emergency we had our police out letting everybody know starting at 8 o’clock at night and we ran as many times as we could until it got too late announcing it. We put it on every social media, Facebook. I did live Facebook posts. So most people were  really gracious enough to get it done for us and I believe today will be the same thing,” said Morse.

The snow grounded flights at Albany International Airport. Airport spokesman Doug Myers said 35 pieces of equipment were working ‘round the clock to keep up with the storm. With the main runway clear, he expected most flights to resume Wednesday afternoon.

“Right now we’re opening up the alternate runway, the east-west runway. And we’re concentrating on removing snow that we’ve piled all around the terminal. We have huge piles of snow that have to be removed now, but we’ve opened up the gates for all the aircraft, all the airlines, and we will be seeing them starting to arrive after noon today,” said Myers.

A state of emergency was called Tuesday in Colonie. Supervisor Paula Mahan said Wednesday morning that town roads were mostly cleared with a goal to uncover all sidewalks by the end of the week.

Troy mayor Patrick Madden has declared a snow emergency beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday.

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.
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