Winter's final day brings large snowfall


Recorder News Staff

Mother Nature took advantage of the last day of winter to drop roughly 10 inches of snow on the Mohawk Valley Tuesday, and despite grumblings from those ready for balmy temperatures, the National Weather Service said the conditions were not unusual.

"Meteorologists consider March to be a spring month, but, on average, it's closer to a winter month," said meteorologist George Maglaras. "It's not unusual to have a snowy, cold March."

Maglaras said in this area, the two greatest historic snowstorms were in March -- 40 inches fell in 1888, and 30 inches in 1993.

Folks might have been spoiled at this time last year with unseasonably warm temperatures, but that's not the norm, Maglaras said.

"People might think that kind of weather happens all the time, but last year was the warmest March since records were started in 1880," Maglaras said. "The reason March is considered spring, meteorologically, is because the area transitions to warmer temperatures, but our March is probably like January in a place like North Carolina. So for us, March is still fairly wintery."

By noon today, the service documented 9.6 inches of flakes in Fonda, and 9.2 inches in Amsterdam, putting the region closer to average snowfall numbers.

Impact of the precipitation varied throughout the region. Montgomery County Undersheriff Jeffery T. Smith said the two biggest hot spots for road problems were Route 67 in the town of Mohawk in the area of Fulton-Montgomery Community College, where several cars went off the road and several tractor trailers jackknifed, and northbound on Route 30A heading out of the town of Mohawk, where delays were encountered because vehicles got stuck on the hill.

"From 10:30 a.m. to about 2 p.m., it was crazy with the number of calls, but I think that was when the snow was coming down the heaviest," Smith said. "It wasn't anything too serious, though. I didn't hear anything out of the ordinary."

Amsterdam Battalion Fire Chief Mike Whitty said the department hadn't responded to any snow-related incidents as of 6 p.m. Tuesday

"It took 'em all winter to get it right," he said of motorists.

Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane said the city's snow emergency remained in effect until 8 p.m. while snowplow crews continued cleanup. By 4 p.m., roughly 60 percent of the city streets had been plowed, and the second crew had started in seven trucks to complete the job.

"The snow emergency [was] slated for 36 hours to allow the crews to adequately clean up the entire 85 miles of roads," Thane said.

Maglaras said there's a 30 percent chance of snow today through Friday, but said that was "too low" of a probability to predict any additional accumulation.

"There will be a lake-effect snow, but it won't affect the Mohawk Valley. We're not expecting any sustained periods of snow," he said.