DELMAR– A three-day nor’easter dumped exceptionally heavy snow and ushered in high winds, helping snap treelimbs and cut power to thousands across the Capital District, all of which started with the first bit of snowfall on Monday evening, March 13.
Gov. Kathy Hochul issued a state of emergency across New York on Monday, on the promise the storm would bring heavy snow and high winds, and with it, power outages and low visibility.
Colonie Town Supervisor Peter J. Crummey said “our crews would be out in full force to keep our streets cleared,” in a statement he shared that evening. He advised residents and businesses to help keep garbage cans off the road, refrain from moving snow into the road, keep parked vehicles off the road and in a cul-de-sac, and avoid any unnecessary travel.
Area school districts issued closings as early as Monday evening. By the following morning, businesses followed suit. Both Colonie Center and Crossgates Mall announced they would be closed by Tuesday morning.
Snow totals varied greatly within between the valley and hilltowns during the first 24 hours of the storm. According to the National Weather Service, New Scotland recorded just 5 inches of snow before 10 a.m. Tuesday morning. The amount was significantly lower than what was initially forecasted, but exceptionally wet causing for slick driving in the valley. Hilltown communities witnessed more snow, with Clarksville recording 10 inches within the same window of time.
Albany County Executive Dan McCoy directed all county departments and agencies to provide emergency assistance, helping to protect public infrastructure, life and property. He directed all drivers to stay off the roads.
“Our DPW crews had been working diligently throughout the night to clear the roads but the snow came down fast.” McCoy said.
As the storm circulated above the Capital District Tuesday afternoon, weather observers reported snowfall increasing at a rate of one to two inches per hour. The combination of heavy snow and winds stressed treelimbs and powerlines, causing driving hazards and power outages across the area.
By Wednesday, National Grid reported that its eastern New York field force had grown to more than 3,300 line, service, tree, damage assessment and public safety workers. Crews worked continuously to restore power to nearly 139,000 customers across the Capital District — 90 percent of whom had power by 11 a.m. that day.
“The long-duration nor’easter brought more than two feet of snow and 45 mph winds to some locations, which resulted in uprooted trees, downed tree limbs and wires, broken poles and damaged transformers,” the power company shared in a statement released Wednesday afternoon, adding that the hardest-hit counties include Columbia, Essex, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren and Washington. “The storm created hazardous travel and work conditions, as well as equipment damage in remote, wooded areas off roadways.”
Rensselaerville reported the highest snow totals in the county with 25.4 inches of snow. The disparity continued throughout the 33 hours of reported weather activity. Altamont received 15.5 inches; Delmar, 10.5; Guilderland, 9.1; Boght Corners, 8.8 and West Albany, 6.8.
“We thank all of our customers for their continued patience and understanding as we advance closer to completing service restoration. Our field force will remain active in the region until the last outage is resolved,” said Matt Barnett, National Grid’s vice president of electric operations. “On behalf of National Grid, I want to extend a special thanks to the police, fire, public works, municipal officials, and other volunteers who continue to support our customers and our communities during the post-storm recovery.”