The biggest snowfall in years is coming down, part of a powerful blizzard hammering the East Coast. WAMC's Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports on the storm's impact in the Albany area.
Forecasters gave us a heads up days ago. Snow began falling between 3 and 4 a.m., prompting Albany County Executive Dan McCoy to declare a State of Emergency. "We were watchin' the storm all last night and seeing if it was gonna pass us, because, you know, being in the valley, a lot of the times it bypasses us or the storm doesn't hit us as hard as it is hittin' us today, so I stayed up with my staff last night, goin' back and forth with my team, and made the call about 4 o'clock in the morning, saying 'yup, we're gonna get it.'"
McCoy sent word that all county employees save for those working the jail, nursing home and DPW, take the day off.
Around the same time, authorities region-wide began advising people to stay off the highways. Sheriff Craig Apple began his day at the Albany County Emergency Operations Center. "We're praying that nobody goes on the roads. We've had 11 accidents so ar. Big plows are having a hard time keeping up with it. It's bad. So we're urging everybody shelter in place. If you need medical care or something to that effect, call our 911 center, let us know what the issue is. We have very very minor power outages right now, I think there's a small group in Colonie that has lost power. We're out at our operations center right now, we've got Homeland Security, we've got National Grid, we've got the Red Cross. You know we're monitoring everything and trying to deal with the issues as they arise."
Forget the "snowpocalypses" and "snowzillas" of the past. The Mid-March Nor'easter, dubbed Winter Storm Stella, is expected to drop two feet or more before it’s over.
Those whose jobs mandated they show up for work started the day shoveling and scraping, as the plows got an early start...
"We have quite the storm brewing outside. It's not safe for people to be on the roads, at all. And we are working to continue to move the snow but this is going to be a long and arduous day for everybody." At City of Albany Office of General Services headquarters, Mayor Kathy Sheehan announced a snow emergency. "In the city of Albany a snow emergency cannot take effect until after the snow stops falling. We declare snow emergencies so that we can actually come in with dump trucks and remove the snow from the street as it piles up, because we just don't have the capacity to push it back when we get this much snow. So, we will be clearing the streets. It'll start at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, So at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, we will have the lots cleared for people to move their cars to, and the cars need to be off the odd side of the road, people need to park on the even-numbered streets."
Sheehan hopes that getting word out now and again will preclude having to tow large numbers of vehicles parked in violation of emergency rules.
On the utility side, Nate Stone with National Grid says there are just a handful of outages and the system is holding up very well so far. "We have crews on standby in case that changes. The white fluffy nature of the snow is creating a scenario that's putting less stress on our wires, less stress on the trees. We are monitoring winds, there are reports that the winds may pick up later on. We have crews on standby in case this becomes worse than it is."
In Troy, Mayor Patrick Madden is asking residents to stay off the road unless absolutely necessary.
Schenectady County has issued a Local Emergency Order at 4 p.m., limiting travel on all roads and highways within Schenectady County to ESSENTIAL TRAFFIC ONLY. Oneonta has issued a similar ban.
Back in Albany County, Dan McCoy says salting of county roads will begin later this afternoon when temperatures rise a bit. "I say to your listeners, please, if you don't have to, don't be out on the roads, stay off the roads, let the plows do their work, so if the police fire or EMS have to get to your house to an emergency scenes, they can do that safely in a timely manner, please — there's no reason to be out there."
McCoy urges everyone to keep candles and batteries handy and to check on any senior close by. Those who receive Meals on Wheels home deliveries did get extra shelf stable meals in advance. In the event you do lose power, numbers for National Grid and NYSEG are below:
From the City of Albany:
Albany, NY - Please be advised that the City of Albany has issued a SNOW EMERGENCY that will begin at 8:00 PM on Wednesday, March 15, 2017, at which time all normal parking rules and regulations are temporarily suspended.
· During the first 24 hours of the snow emergency all vehicles must be parked on the even numbered side of the street.
· Beginning at 8:00 P.M. Thursday, March 16, 2017 all vehicles must be parked on the odd numbered side of the street for the next 24-hour period.
If you are parked on the wrong side of the street during the snow emergency your car will be ticketed and may be towed.
After the second 24-hour period, please stay tuned for further announcements. For SNOW EMERGENCY information, call 518-476-SNOW or visit the City of Albany's website at albanyny.gov, facebook.com/CityofAlbanyMayorsOffice, and twitter.com/AlbanyCityHall.
IMPORTANT CONTACTS DURING THE SNOW EMERGENCY:
The Snow Emergency Hotline is 518-476-SNOW(7669); for general snow inquiries call the Department of General Services at 518-434-CITY(2489)
To report power outages and determine area repair schedules, call National Grid at 800-642-4272; in an emergency, call 911
If you would like to receive a text or email about a snow emergency, you can sign up for Nixle alerts at:
http://www.albanyny.org/Government/Departments/PoliceDepartment/Nixle.aspx. For real-time weather information, visit the National Weather Service.
During the snow emergency the City of Albany has made available additional parking located at various lots in the city the locations are as follows:
ARBOR HILL/SHERIDAN HOLLOW
1. PARKING AREA ADJOINING ARBOR HILL SOFTBALL FIELD
(NORTH LARK ST.)
2. 230 COLONIE ST. (PLAYGROUND LOT)
3. 178 COLONIE ST. (PLAYGROUND LOT)
4. TEN BROECK MANSION (PARKING LOT & SIDEWALK WEST END)
1. RIDGEFIELD PARK (ENTER ON PARTRIDGE ST.)
2. WOODLAWN PARK LITTLE LEAGUE
3. WATERSON PARK (WESTLAND HILLS) ENTER ON COLVIN AVE.
4. WASHINGTON PARK (ALL ROADWAYS AND PARKING AREAS)
1. KRANK PARK AREA
2. FRANKLIN ST. (BETWEEN SCHUYLER & BASSETT STS. – EAST SIDE)
3. LINCOLN PARK (ALL INTERIOR ROADWAYS & PARKING AREA)
1. 77 PHILIP ST. (PLAYGROUND)
2. 88 PHILIP ST. (PLAYGROUND)
1. NORTH SECOND & NORTH THIRD STS. (ABOVE PEARL ST.)
2. PARKING AREA ACROSS FROM NORTH ALBANY AMERICAN LEGION POST
1. BLEECKER STADIUM (PARKING AREA & ROADWAYS)
2. NORTH SIDE OF LIVINGSTON AVE. (OPPOSITE JUDSON ST.) Parking Lot
The following streets should look for emergency no parking signs posted by the Albany Police Department to determine which side of the street to park on:
• Central Avenue (Lark Street to Henry Johnson Blvd)
• Pine Street (Eagle Street to Lodge Street)
• Columbia Street (Eagle Street to Lodge Street)
• Elk Street (Eagle Street to N. Hawk Street)
• Willett Street (Madison Avenue to State Street)
• Jay Street (Turn Around to Hudson Avenue)
• Robin Street (Madison Avenue to Myrtle Ave)
• Thurlow Terrace (Western Avenue to Dead End)
• Englewood Place (Western Avenue to Dead End)
• Sprague Place (Western Avenue to State Street)
• Bleeker Place (Phillip Street to Eagle Street)
• Lark Street (Madison Avenue to Myrtle Avenue)
• Leonard Place (Delaware Avenue to Dead End)
• Madison Place (Eagle Street to Philip Street)
• Wilbur Street (Philip Street to Grand Street)
• Park Avenue (Dove Street to S. Swan Street)
• Manning Square (Manning Blvd to Central Avenue)
• Manning Blvd (Bridal Path, Western Avenue to Washington Avenue)
• Niblock Court (Ver Plank Street to Dead End)
• Essex Street (Watervliet Avenue to Rawson Street)
• N. Main Avenue (Washington Avenue to Manning Blvd)
• O'Leary Blvd (Western Avenue to Washington Avenue)
• Northern Blvd (Colonie Street to Manning Blvd)
• Manning Blvd (Livingston Avenue to Arbor Drive)
• McPherson Terrace (#15 to Judson Street)
• Hall Place (Ten Broeck Place to Second Street)
• St Joseph Terrace (Second Street to First Street)
• N Second Street (Broadway to Jennings Drive)
• N. Third Street (Broadway to Dead End)
• Helderberg Avenue (Main Avenue to Weiss Road)
• Kate Street (Whitehall Road to Cuyler Avenue)
If your vehicle has been towed, call Albany Police Department at 438-4000, for information on how to retrieve your vehicle.
Snow emergency brochures, which outline all of the Snow Emergency procedures, can be picked up at any City firehouse, police station or branches of the Albany Public Library.