First major storm of season drops about a foot

Bruce Hillbourne, taking a coffee break at Stewart’s on Main Street in Johnstown this morning, had a busy weekend.

The city resident spent it shoveling snow in front of downtown shops.

“I go to warm up my feet and go out [to shovel more],” Hillbourne said.

“I hope [the winter] is very short. Short and quick,” he said.

Wintry weather made its presence known this weekend when a storm dumped about a foot of snow across the area Saturday afternoon and into Sunday morning.

All day Sunday, people in Fulton, Montgomery and Hamilton counties were out plowing, shoveling and snowblowing to dig out from the area’s first major snowstorm of the season.

Luigi Meccariello, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany, said Fulton County received 10 to 13 inches of snow, with the highest total in Broadalbin and Perth, at 13 inches. Parts of Caroga Lake received 10 1/2 inches. Amsterdam received 13 1/2 inches, while areas near Palatine Bridge received about 6 1/2 inches.

Johnstown Deputy City Engineer Jason Scott said the city plowing crews held off on much of plowing until Saturday night because the length of the storm.

“We wanted to make sure there were crews on the road at the end of the storm,” he said.

He said the Department of Public Works crews started their shifts close to midnight Saturday and didn’t complete plowing roads and clearing city-owned property and walkways until about 8 a.m. Sunday. He said despite the snow no longer coming down Sunday night, crews were still busy cutting banks and salting walkways.

He said low temperatures made efforts more difficult.

“When the air temperatures are a lot colder, it’s tough for the salt to do its work,” Scott said.

Gloversville Department of Public Works Director Kevin Jones said many of his crews also waited out the storm.

“The issue was it snowed basically all day [Saturday] and you only have eight to 10 hours you can run the guys, so it was a timing thing. I tried to plow during the parking ban [on Saturday night and Sunday morning], and I think it went pretty well,” he said.

Fulton County Superintendent of Highways and Facilities Mark Yost said this morning the biggest issue his crew encountered was snow drifts.

“The thing that made this difficult was the wind,” Yost said. “The snow was light, so we chased drifts into last night. On one hand, you don’t want to fight an ice storm, and people are happy when it’s light and fluffy snow, but for us, it creates that drifting problem.”

Gloversville Police Capt. John Sira said his department responded to three fender-bender accidents Sunday due to the weather.

The Gloversville True Value Hardware Store was busy Friday and Saturday selling items related to the weather, including shovels, ice-melting products and snowblower parts, said store Manager Ed Mally.

“Snow shovels went out the door pretty fast,” Mally said. “A lot of people were in trying to fix a snowblower that they didn’t bother fixing until the snow started to fall. We sold pretty much everything related to a snowblower. First snow of the winter is when people break them because they’ve been sitting all summer.”

The Noble Ace Hardware in Johnstown saw similar demand for the winter items.

“Most of our shovels are gone, and snow scrapers. We also sold one snowblower,” store Manager Mike Boucher said.

Meccariello said temperatures will fall into the single digits tonight.

He said snow flurries are possible Tuesday, with accumulation ranging from 1 to 3 inches. He said temperatures will be in the teens to mid-20s Tuesday. The weather will begin to clear Wednesday, when temperatures may reach the lower 30s, he said.