Winter arrives early with snowy wallop

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It won’t be winter — officially — until 5:02 a.m. Monday, but the season got a jump start with a nor’easter that slammed coastal states on Wednesday and into the overnight hours.

Light flakes continued to fall in the Mohawk Valley region Thursday morning, with the storm finally tapering off by the afternoon.

According to reports, overnight snowfall rates reached between 1-2 inches per hour with blizzard conditions in New York, New Jersey and New England.

The heaviest snow — between 1 to 2 feet — fell from central Pennsylvania through the Southern Tier of New York and into southern New England.

Wind gusts in some areas even reached up to 50 mph, meteorologists said.

In the Rome-Utica area, Meteorologist Bryan Greenblatt, with the National Weather Service in Binghamton, said the region received anywhere between 6-10 inches of snowfall depending on location. He said 6 inches of snow was recorded at Griffiss International Airport at 7 a.m. Thursday, with reports from other areas still coming in.

“In terms of the forecast, the snow is tapering off,” Greenblatt said. “You’ll see some peeks of sun Thursday and by the afternoon, it should completely stop snowing. At this point, it’s winding down.”

The meteorologist said the nor’easter was pretty typical for this time of year in the Northeast.

“Anywhere between November and March is when we get coastal storms and depending on the air mass in place, that determines if it will be a snow or rain event, and the track of the system,” he said.

What did make this nor’easter unusual is how areas further south got slammed harder by snow, rather than the north, Greenblatt said.

“Further south we got higher amounts,” the meteorologist said. “Our station is located right next to Binghamton Airport, and the old two-day snowfall record there was 35.3 inches, which took place on March 14 and 15 of 2017. In a measurement taken about an hour ago, we had 39.9 inches. So this was definitely a recording-breaking storm across the Southern Tier, and there was a very sharp gradient in the amounts of snowfall in this storm.”

Even New York received unusually high amounts of snow, with 10 inches recorded at Central Park at 10 a.m. Thursday.

But in Central New York, while temperatures remain cold over the next few days, by Monday, they will become more mild, reaching past the 30s, Greenblatt said. “Tomorrow (Friday) will be mostly sunny with a high around 30 degrees,
Saturday will be dry and mostly cloudy, and then you’re next chance for precipitation will be on Sunday, with a rain/snow mix,” he said. “The low temperatures on Friday will be in the upper single digits, and then Saturday and Sunday, lows will be in the 20s. But by Monday, it should warm up to around (high) 40 degrees.”

Ace Hardware, 115 Black River Blvd., was all ready for area residents’ winter weather needs with a full stock of shovels, snowblowers, de-icers and other items to help battle winter’s harshest elements, said Store Supervisor Sandy Adsit.

“We have plenty of shovels, roof rakes, car brushes, winter gloves — we’ve had a pretty steady amount of customers come in today,” Adsit said Thursday. “As for snowblowers, we have plenty, but we sold more ahead of the snow than we usually do. People were getting prepared ahead of time for this, which is a good thing.”

In addition to warm, sturdy gloves, Ace also has hand warmers in stock that customers can place in their pockets when they’re out shoveling and snowblowing, to periodically warm up their hands, Adsit said.

“We also have a nice spray for when the snow is heavy and wet — you spray it on the bottom of your shovel, and the snow will stick to the shovel and slide off easier,” the supervisor said. “We also have an Arctic Snow Plow with a pink foam handle that extends and just pushes everything off your car in one swipe. And there’s also a snow brush/shovel combination for when you get out of work and need to dig out your tires.”

And as the winter season continues to present its challenges, Adsit said Ace Hardware will be ready.

“We’re ready for everything and we’re looking forward to helping out each and everyone in the community and getting them everything they need,” she said.

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