Area tastes bitter cold from storm

Many across the area were spending the morning digging out of the lingering winter storm that dropped nearly a foot of snow on much of the region.

However, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany this morning noted the bitter cold – with wind chills reaching 5 degrees below zero – was an additional burden for people this morning.

“Usually it doesn’t get quite this cold,” Meteorologist Kevin Lipton said this morning. “The bitter cold that accompanied the snow was unusual and I think had the biggest impact on people.”

Lipton said this morning Fulton County had an accumulation ranging from 8 to 11 inches of snow with the Johnstown area receiving the largest total at 11 inches. Meanwhile, Caroga Lake and Broadalbin received about 8 inches.

He said Montgomery County had a much broader range of accumulation, with much of the region receiving 4 to 11 inches of snow. The largest accumulation was in Amsterdam, which received a little more than 11 inches, while Fonda received 8 1/2 inches.

Lipton said going forward light snow showers will continue through the early morning, but minimal accumulation is expected. During the afternoon the skies will clear up, but that won’t do much for the freezing temperatures that will range from zero to five degrees for much of the day. The windchill will make it feel as cold as 20 degrees below zero at times, he said.

Lipton said the wind will taper off as the night progresses, but the actual temperatures will plummet even more, to 10 to 15 degrees below zero.

“It’s going to stay very wintry for the next five to seven days,” Lipton said.

He said pet owners should be cautious with letting their animals out during this cold weather and people should limit their own exposure to the elements.

Gloversville Department of Public Works Director Kevin Jones said the prolonged duration of this storm presented the biggest challenge, but he said his crew was able to get much of the city completed within three shifts.

He said this morning some of the plows were still out touching up a few spots of the city, but overall the crew was able to stay on top of the storm.

“The cold isn’t doing anybody any good because the salt doesn’t want to work well in this temperature,” Jones said.

Jones said with the additional snow this morning and winds expected to pick up, he is expecting his team to hit the streets once again tonight to make a final sweep.

Capt. John Sira said his department responded to only two accidents Thursday as a result of the weather.

He said with this being the second large storm of the season people become acclimated to the environment compared to the first snowfall, which is when the most accidents typically occur.

Homeless shelters are also taking in more people and school districts are closed from Albany to Buffalo as bitterly cold weather combines with snow and wind to make conditions miserable in upstate New York.

A number of local school districts closed due to the snowfall and freezing temperatures including: Amsterdam, Canajoharie Central School District, Edinburg Common School District, Fonda-Fultonville Central School District, Fort Plain Central School District, Gloversville Enlarged School District, Greater Johnstown School District, Mayfield Central School District, Northville Central School District and Fulton-Montgomery Community College.

The National Weather Service has posted winter storm warnings through this morning in most of the state. Temperatures are in the single digits or below zero, with the wind making it feel as cold as 20-30 below zero in some areas.

The storm dumped up to 18 inches of snow in the Rochester area by late Thursday, while up to 14 inches is reported this morning in parts of eastern New York.

Going forward, Lipton said, Saturday the temperatures will rise back to the mid-teens and the sun will be visible although the heat won’t be felt.

He said on Sunday and Monday another storm may impact the region with a wintry mix but the bitter cold will follow once again.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.