A passing cold front crossing the Capital District produced wind gusts up to 50 mph Monday evening, March 1. What followed was a wave of reported power outages across the area, scrambling both National Grid crews and local highway departments.
It was the worst wind storm to hit the region since a rare derecho slammed the area last October with a short, powerful burst. Unlike last year’s brief wind storm, Monday’s weather was sustained over several hours. Winds started to blow shortly before noon Monday at about 25 mph, and picked up after 6 p.m.
The airport registered a record 54 mph gust late Monday evening. National Weather Service records show repeated instances in which gusts reached 49 mph — the previous record for the day.
“It sounds like a fighter jet keeps flying by outside,” stated Wynantskill resident Jennie Chase Brown. She was one of nearly 100 residents who shared their accounts of roaring winds and blowing snow squalls on the popular Weatherman G Facebook page.
“Really loud wind here in Saratoga Springs,” shared Lisa Barrett Mann, “and this is coming from a gal who moved here from Kansas.”
More than 20,000 residents were without power at one point Monday evening. Reports of downed trees and power lines knocked out electricity and caused some road closures. Downed power lines temporarily closed Feura Bush Road in Delmar at approximately 9:40 p.m.
The passing front ushered in much colder weather where temperatures dropped as much as 35 degrees within 24 hours. Albany International Airport recorded Monday’s high at 41 degrees shortly after 10:30 a.m. The following day, the temperature was only 16.
Thousands were still without power the next morning as winds continued to gust. At 8 a.m., National Grid issued a statement to explain to customers it was restoring power “as quickly and safely as possible in challenging conditions.” At the time of the statement, the wind chill in Albany was -6.
“Our field force is active across upstate New York removing downed wires, trees, tree limbs, broken poles and other hazards, focusing on public safety and restoring power to customers after severe winds swept through the region overnight,” National Grid shared in an online statement. “Crews are continuing to remove storm debris and restore power as quickly and safely as possible in challenging conditions.”
Bethlehem Town Supervisor David VanLuven reported his highway crews had “worked through the night” to clear trees and other hazards.
Last October’s derecho knocked out power to nearly 200,000 residents across the region. The airport reported a wind gust of 67 mph that afternoon as a wall of wind left a 320-mile swath of damage across the state.
In Bethlehem, it overwhelmed highway crews with the task of clearing approximately 9,000 cubic yards of trees and debris. The brief storm produced nearly twice the amount of yard waste collected by town crews compared to the previous year.
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