Region Digs Out From Second Snowstorm

Mar 8, 2018

The clocks will spring ahead this weekend, but in the meantime, our region has experienced its second Nor’easter inside of a week.

Just days after a storm brought high winds and heavy snow, the Northeast is digging out from another round of winter weather, with snowfall totals in some areas between 2 and 3 feet.

Some areas that saw only moderate snowfall days ago awoke to significantly more Thursday morning.

North Adams, Massachusetts Mayor Tom Bernard said the city’s Department of Public Works employees reported snowfalls 3 feet deep.

But he says it’s a lighter snow than the storm last week. He said the city has not seen significant power outages.

“It’s sticking to trees. I’m looking out my window and seeing it. But it doesn’t look like the branches are bending heavily or you’re seeing a lot of risk of cracking and falling. It’s light enough that it’s just covering them and creating a winter wonderland sort of look,” said Bernard.

Some areas of New York’s Schoharie Valley were covered by more than three feet of snow from the last storm, says Schoharie town supervisor Chris Tague.

“Between 38 and 40 depending on what areas of the county, Schoharie County, you were out. But I think we got anywhere from 6 to 10 with the most recent storm,” said Tague.

Tague said town and county workers worked quickly to make sure snow removal equipment was ready for the second storm.

“I mean, they’re like firetrucks. They gotta be ready to go whenever they’re called,” said Tague.

The mid-Hudson Valley was  heavily impacted by the last storm, with widespread power outages and some restorations several taking days.

Utility Central Hudson called the first storm one of the most powerful to impact the region in 50 years. 

Central Hudson spokesman John Maserjian said that storm saw about 109,000 outages.

“With this storm, we’re seeing a total number of outages at about 60,000 so it’s quite a bit less. However, it’s still a very damaging storm with 40,000 customers impacted at the moment,” said Maserjian.

Customers in Ulster and Dutchess Counties were most affected.

Maserjian said many trees in the region were already damaged by the first snowfall, leading to more downed limbs with the second storm.

He said most of the additional repair crews brought in through mutual aid agreements for the last storm were assisting with the second one.

“So we have a field force of about 550 electric line and tree-trimming workers that will be repairing damage today. And with the additional crews from outside the area we hope to shorten the duration of the outages and bring back power a bit sooner,” said Maserjian.

Thursday morning, National Grid was reporting more than 4,800 customers affected in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, on a conference call with reporters Wednesday, spoke out about the lengthy restoration times in some areas.

“I made it very clear to the utility companies that I was not satisfied with their response,” said Cuomo.

The governor said the state Public Service Commission will do a full review of the utilities’ response to last week’s storm.

“I think the delay was unnecessary and they have to be much, much better at doing these repairs and they have to be much better in a very short period of time,” said Cuomo.

Central Hudson’s Maserjian said it’s not unusual for investigations after major storms.

“These sort of investigations allow us to review our performance as an industry and this is the way we all get better,” said Maserjian.

In preparation for the second storm, Governor Cuomo deployed 400 National Guard troops to assist with the recovery. Travel bans for tractor trailers on state highways were in effect Wednesday until 11 p.m.