East Coast braces for storm

While some areas along the East Coast such as Boston are expected to get pounded with as much as 3 feet of snow from today’s winter storm, Fulton, Montgomery and southern Hamilton counties won’t get hit nearly as hard, forecasters say.

The local area will receive 8 to 10 inches of snow from the storm today and into Saturday morning, said Kevin Lipton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany.

The snow started before dawn today in the Gloversville area. Most local schools closed for the day.

Light snow is expected into the early afternoon before heavy snow hits later tonight, Lipton said.

TJ Bradt, highway superintendent for the town of Johnstown, said his crews started sanding and salting at 6 a.m. today and were expected to begin plowing today and Saturday morning.

He said the fact the area previously has had little snowfall this winter will make plowing for this storm somewhat easier because crews won’t have to deal with high scraper banks.

“Basically, it’s a normal snowfall for us,” he said.

The storm prompted some localities to declare snow emergencies.

The village of Mayfield declared a snow emergency effective this morning. Parking on village streets is prohibited until the emergency is lifted. Any vehicle parked on the street will be ticketed and towed at the owner’s expense, a news release said. For information, call 661-5165, Ext. 27.

The city of Amsterdam also declared a snow emergency, which began 6 p.m. Thursday. No parking is allowed on city streets during the emergency.

Local residents won’t have to worry about blizzard conditions, Lipton said, but blowing and drifting snow is expected at times.

Tonight, forecasters expect 15 to 25 mph winds in Fulton and Montgomery counties. Wind speed will pick up Saturday, reaching 30 to 40 mph.

Saturday will be cold, Lipton said. Temperatures are forecast in the teens during the day and as low as 5 below zero Saturday night. The weather will get warmer Sunday and into Monday as temperatures climb into the mid-30s. However, Lipton said, the area may see light snow Monday.

So far, today’s storm is the most widespread of the season, Lipton said.

Rodney Montana, Fulton County deputy superintendent of highways, said this morning the county is ready for the storm.

“We’re prepared. All the trucks are running.” he said. “We’ve got lots of salt … The trucks are on their runs. They’ll keep the roads passable.”

Amsterdam General Public Works Supervisor Ray Halgas said the city had seven plows on the road this morning.

“We have a light snow and the bigger trucks are spreading a 2-1 sand-salt mixture on the busier roads, and the smaller trucks are spreading pure salt on the secondary hills,” Halgas said. “We had everything ready yesterday. They said it was supposed to start in the afternoon. The first forecast was for 18 to 24 inches. Now, the forecast is for 6 to 12 inches.”

City officials also passed a new law last week to give police officers the right to tow vehicles parked on the street during a snow emergency.

Sgt. Carl Rust of the Amsterdam Police Department this morning said he was driving around the city, and the new law seemed to be working as most cars were off the streets.

“We’re giving everyone ample time. We’re using some discretion,” Rust said. “I haven’t had any real trouble. Before the storm really hits us, we’re trying to get people off the streets now.”

The new legislation gives us the power to tow at will. Right now, I’m going through the city streets, and everyone seems to be compliant.”