A blast of snow for some, a wintry mix for others. Officials across upstate New York are scrambling to meet the challenge of the latest storm.
All across New York and western New England there are closings and cancelations. Weather-watchers from every walk of life, having stocked up on bread and milk, have charged up their smartphones so they can take and share pictures of Mother Nature's latest performance.
"We always prepare for the worst and hope for the best," said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan as she and Department of General Services Commissioner Dan Mirabile discussed plans Wednesday morning.
"So in preparation for the storm we moved all of our personnel over to two 12-hour shifts, so essentially we split our personnel. We started at 7 a.m. this morning. Crews will remain on-shift through the duration of the storm and the clean-up, whatever that may be, however long it takes. Our fleet maintenance prepped all of our vehicles Monday and Tuesday, made any repairs from the snow event over the weekend. We will start now with 54 trucks on the road, those trucks are out on the road now with salt in 'em." Mirabile says the city has 2,800 tons of salt ready for dispersal. Six hired loaders with articulating plows are scheduled to join the snow removal effort around mid-afternoon, to be followed by an additional four at sunset.
Sheehan touted Albany's new GPS management tool that tracks the municipal snowplow fleet. "We had a major winter storm last year and we had some of our trucks that had difficulty because of how fast the snow fell, they had trouble getting down some of the side roads. This will allow us to see that in real time, and be able to deploy resources where they need to be more efficiently.
You know, we still have the map on the wall, but this is a huge advantage that allows us in real time to be able to address some of those issues. We're really looking forward to seeing this in action. The other thing we've done is that we have required our contractor who is bringing in six big trucks to also carry these GPS's. We have remote GPS's for those. So it really allows us to be more effective with storm management."
Sheehan urges residents to stay off the road during the storm and lend a hand to elderly or disabled neighbors to keep sidewalks clear of snow and ice, and not to shovel or plow snow back into the street.
The steadiest and heaviest snow is expected to fall in the middle of the day and afternoon then taper off before midnight.
The Capital District Transportation Authority has issued several advisories and is re-routing some buses. Elsewhere, Oneonta Public Transit is not in operation until 6 a.m. Thursday.
Kingston Citibus suspended service at 11:30 a.m. Superintendent of Public Works Joe Chenier says a snow emergency has been declared. "We currently have 17 trucks out ranging from pickups to the large 10-wheelers. Salting, mainly in the intersections, obviously we don't wanna put down salt and then scrape it off in the next pass so we're trying to limit the salt to the hills and the intersections. Yeah, it's coming down about an inch an hour, we probably got close to 3 inches right now."
Chenier says garbage and recycling pickups are continuing.
Stay tuned to WAMC throughout the day for weather-related updates.