Snowstorm ends, rain and flooding on the horizon

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

Moving the snow: Three New York State snow plows head east on Western Avenue in Guilderland on Sunday afternoon. The nor’easter dumped about 8 inches in town. The state mobilized over 1,600 plows, according to the governor’s office, and is mobilizing just as many for the storm expected on Tuesday.

ALBANY COUNTY — On the 12th day of Christmas, Saturday night, Jan. 6, a nor’easter arrived here, depositing 8 to 10 inches of snow, which fell through Sunday evening.

Then on Monday, as shoveling and plowing were completed, the governor urged New Yorkers to prepare for another storm system — this one with a mix of rain, wet snow, and gusty winds beginning Tuesday and lasting through Wednesday.

The new storm “will likely cause flooding and power outages throughout the state,” said a release from the governor’s office. “Forecasts are calling for the system to begin with snow, but then quickly transition to rain, except in higher elevations.”

“I ask all New Yorkers to please take caution and keep track of weather and travel information in your area,” said Governor Kathy Hochul in the release.

After 3 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 8, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued both a flood watch and a wind advisory for Albany County; both expire on Wednesday, Jan. 10, at 7 p.m.

On Monday evening, Jan. 8, Hochul held a press conference to warn New Yorkers of the dangers of flash flooding, invoking recent flood events — a 1,000-year event in Highland Falls, and flooding in New York City last September.

“Right now, the biggest concern is flash flooding,” said Hochul, “with a 70-percent chance of flash flooding in the Hudson Valley starting Tuesday night, but the rain will start around noon tomorrow. That could last several days.

“We’re expecting as much as 4 inches of rain. That’s the equivalent of 4 feet of snow. But the problem is when you combine that with the fact that parts of the Hudson Valley already got 18 inches of snow yesterday, that could lead to very dangerous conditions.

“And in New York City and Long Island, in addition to the rain, we expect wind to be hitting gusts as high as 60 miles an hour, leading to moderate coastal flooding.”

Hochul said wind gusts in western, central, and northern New York could be even higher, close to hurricane force.

“And that’s why right now we are prepositioning over 8,800 utility workers and 75 massive generators to be able to handle any power outages that affect traffic signals,” said Hochul. 

While New York handled the weekend’s snow “very well,” Hochul said, “Tomorrow’s storm is different, and we're taking it very seriously …. flash floods can be extremely dangerous. So, we’re pre-deploying four swiftwater rescue teams from state agencies. The DOT and Thruway Authority are proactively checking and clearing storm drains and culverts. Digital billboards are being used to warn drivers right now as well.”

Hochul concluded by giving safety tips.

“If you live in an area that typically floods, and much of our state is in flood zones, take some time to put together a go bag with your medication, your prescription, phone chargers, clothes and snacks,” she said. “Think about the best route to take in an unlikely event of evacuation.

“And here’s my best advice, please stay off the roads. As the saying goes, ‘Turn around, don’t drown.’ I’ve said before, the vast majority of deaths during extreme flooding events come from individuals stuck in their cars — six inches of swiftly moving water can make you lose control of the steering wheel or even knock you off your feet and two feet of water could literally sweep your car away.”

 For a complete listing of weather alerts and forecasts, visit the National Weather Service website at New Yorkers may also sign up for emergency alerts by subscribing to NY Alert at, a free service providing critical emergency information to your cell phone or computer.

At a storm briefing on Sunday, Jan. 7, as snow was still falling in Latham, Hochul said, “This is the first real test of our brand new, state-of-the-art, first-of-the-nation Weather Risk Communication Center, and it’s located at UAlbany … 

“Knowing the exact snowfall amounts is absolutely critical and it has really improved — this level of detail and accuracy has really improved — our response time … We’ve been able to analyze forecasts, merge them with local data and pinpoint how to direct our resources.”

Hochul also noted the most snow fell in the Catskills and the eastern Hudson Valley, which she called “good news for our snow economy — the snowmobilers, the skiers, the people just want to sled down a hill. We’re very excited about that for our people have been waiting a long time for a good base of snow.”

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