© 2023
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Northeast Snarled By Early Winter Storm

Albany City Hall
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
Albany City Hall

People in the Northeast are digging out from a rare November snowstorm that triggered a multitude of closings, delays and commuter woes.

The southernmost part of New York bore the brunt of Mother Nature's November surprise. It was gridlock Thursday afternoon into evening as snow began falling across New York City with reports of hundreds of stranded motorists and public transportation delays.

That snow creeped up the Hudson Valley, snarling traffic in Westchester, and arrived in Dutchess County just before 4 p.m.   "This was a frustrating storm in that it came on us pretty quickly, with an accelerated amount of accumulation of both snow and ice. Certainly the Departments of Public Works throughout Dutchess were prepared and responding. The fact that this occurred during the home commute made it more challenging both for clean-up crews and of course for commuters and residents to find their way home."   Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro says the rapid accumulation resulted in numerous incidents and accidents, and prompted a massive clean-up effort.   "We're certainly asking residents and commuters to be as patient as they can, to exercise caution, and if there is an emergency, to please contact 9-1-1."  (Residents can stay up to date on the County’s storm response online at dutchessny.gov)

Municipalities that have called snow emergencies include the city of Kingston and the village of Catskill, with residents advised to comply with local rules and regulations to avoid being ticketed and towed.

Officials say Kingston Mayor Steve Noble is expected to issue a public notice early this afternoon regarding cleanup efforts and parking restrictions. (Updates will be posted at www.kingston-ny.gov)

Snow arrived in the Capital Region well after the evening commute. Troy Mayor Patrick Madden:  "At about the time the snow started last night we were salting, we've had crews in all night. The main roads are in very good shape right now, so we're moving into the phase where we're making sure we've got all the side streets and looking for areas where we might need to push back snow a little bit further. Our plows have not been delayed by traffic delays. The fact that schools were delayed helped us considerably. If I had any advice at this time I would just ask people to get to their sidewalks as quickly as they can. There's a lot of water content in this snow and as it goes below freezing it will get very difficult to remove."

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan:   "The storm is moving out and we have 41 plows out on the street, another eight in our parks and on walkways, so all of our resources are deployed and we'll be working to clear the roads. At this point we do not intend to declare a snow emergency. We do have some streets where we will posting some parking restrictions in order to remove some snow."

Here's a list of those streets: 

On Saturday, November 17, 2018 from 10am to 2pm, emergency no parking restrictions will be instituted on the following streets to assist with snow removal:

  • Lark Street, west side from Madison Avenue to Myrtle Avenue
  • Willett Street, west side from Madison Avenue to State Street
  • Bleecker Place, south side from Phillip Street to Eagle Street
  • Wilbur Street, south side from Philip Street to Grand Street
  • St. Joseph Terrace & Hall Place, west side of both from First Street to Ten Broeck Place
  • Niblock Court, both sides of the cul-de-sac

On Saturday, November 17, 2018, the following road closures will be instituted:   Eagle Street between Madison Avenue and Lancaster Street will be closed to all traffic Saturday, November 17, 2018 from 7am to 4pm. A New York State Office of General Services contractor will have large crane on Eagle Street working on the Empire State Plaza access area.

Lodge Street between State Street and Howard Street will be closed to all traffic Saturday, November 17, 2018 from 6am to 5pm. An Albany County contractor will have a large crane working at 112 State Street.

To stay informed about future street closures and parking restrictions please visit https://www.albanyny.gov/Government/CityParkingandTrafficAlerts.aspx

CDTA's Jaime Watson says the region's buses braved the first snow of the season mostly on time.   "Really we were running with very minimal delays today, even this morning. We had some minor delays but really we were able to keep up on the schedule today pretty well, navigated this first winter storm pretty well."

Albany International Airport Spokesman Doug Myers says 10 outbound flights to destinations including Baltimore-Washington and Florida were canceled between late yesterday afternoon and early this morning.   "Some of it had to do with the weather. In other cases it had to do with aircraft not available here in Albany that couldn't get out of Washington and Baltimore. So we're back to normal now, around Noontime things have leveled off.”

Myers notes travelers whose flights were canceled are finding planes through Thanksgiving are booked solid.   "The airlines are struggling to do what they can to re-book people on future flights. Some are being transferred to other airlines. We're working very hard to make it all work for people because we recognize this is a very important time to be with family." (Travelers should monitor the status of their flights by consulting their airline website or reservations desk, or by viewing the Albany International Airport web site at flyalbany.com.)

Officials recommend calling 2-1-1, the United Way Helpline, should you need assistance with heat, food, electricity or shelter.

For detailed information on local weather conditions,  visit the National Weather Service website at www.weather.gov/aly/

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.