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1st snowstorm causes tough commute

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    Lance Wheeler/for Columbia-Greene MediaRoads were slick Thursday night and Friday morning after the early winter storm caused several minor accidents in the Twin Counties. A pick up truck traveling south on Route 9H in Claverack slammed into an electric pole at about 9 a.m. Friday.
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    Lance Wheeler/for Columbia-Greene MediaSnow fell Thursday night over the city of Hudson into late Friday morning.
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    Kate Lisa/Columbia-Greene Media Snow covered the ground in wooded areas of New Baltimore late Friday morning.
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    Kate Lisa/Columbia-Greene Media Roads remained slick for commuters late into Friday morning, including River Road in New Baltimore.
November 16, 2018 12:58 pm

The first day of winter is more than a month away, but that didn’t keep Jack Frost from causing a little mischief in the Twin Counties on Thursday into Friday.

Snowflakes started to fall steadily and stick to the roads Thursday evening at about 5 p.m. in Columbia and Greene counties — just in time for the evening commute.

Snow continued to fall through Friday morning, sometimes mixing with rain, which led to messy road conditions for a slow morning commute.

Snowfall totals in Columbia County were slightly higher than the predicted 4-6 inches. About 7.2 inches of snow was recorded in Taghkanic and Livingston just before 8 a.m. Friday, according to measurements reported to the National Weather Service.

“It [snow accumulation] turned about to be an inch or two higher than we thought, but in the predication business, that turns out to be pretty close,” National Weather Service meteorologist Ray O’Keefe said Friday.

In Greene County, snow fell within the predicted range of 6-8 inches.

About 7.6 inches of snow was reported in Catskill as of 9:15 a.m. and East Jewett at 6:45 a.m., according to the weather service.

“The snow, for all intents and purposes, has ended,” O’Keefe said at 11 a.m. Friday. “There are a couple of light bands of snow traveling through Columbia County now, but generally, the snow has pretty much come to an end. We’re seeing some breaks in the clouds letting us see through to the sun there.”

The forecast remained clear in the Twin Counties for the rest of Friday, with temperatures reaching the upper 30s, O’Keefe said, adding winds will be between 5 and 10 mph.

Sixteen disabled vehicles and eight property damage accidents were reported on state roads in Columbia County from 5 p.m. Thursday to 7 a.m. Friday, according to New York State Police.

Conditions were worse south of Greene County, said New York State Police spokesman Trooper Steven Nevel.

State police deputies in Troop F, which covers Greene, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan and Ulster counties, responded to 234 disabled vehicles, 52 minor and five serious accidents between 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Specific accident totals for Greene County were not available as of  10 a.m.

“Because it [the storm] came so quick, people weren’t prepared, and their vehicles weren’t prepared,” Nevel said. “We were everywhere. The phones would not stop ringing. We didn’t want leave anyone stranded.

“Those that were — we wanted to make sure they were safe and had water and blankets.”

Hudson City Police Department reported no accidents between 6 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. Friday.  

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to personal injury automobile accidents between 4 p.m. Thursday to 10 a.m. Friday, Capt. John DeRocha said.

“We had a bunch of situations where people were stuck on the roadways until the roads got cleared and they were able to move,” DeRocha said Friday. “...You could tell yesterday afternoon that traffic was low and people were prepared for the snow.

“Most people slid off the road or the accidents were minor, such as someone striking a sign post,” he added. “This morning, we had our normal staffing levels and were not overwhelmed.”

National Grid, New York State Electric & Gas and Central Hudson reported no power outages in the Twin Counties as of 11 a.m.

To report a power outage, call 1-800-572-1131 for NYSEG; 1-800-460-0316 for National Grid; or 1-800-527-2714 for Central Hudson.

The early snow might bring fun for some. To the delight of students, all schools were closed Friday in the Twin Counties.

Belleayre Mountain Ski Center in Highmount and Windham Mountain Resort were expected to open Saturday — the earliest opening date for both ski areas in 14 years.

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, email or tweet to @amandajpurcell