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Cuomo declares state of emergency in Columbia, Greene

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    Snow continues to pile up at Joslen Commons in Hudson. Matt Fortunato/Columbia-Greene Media
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    Roads and streets around the Twin Counties are treacherous as the snowstorm continues throughout Monday afternoon. Matt Fortunato/Columbia-Greene Media
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    Courtesy of the National Weather Service in AlbanySnow fall totals are expected to be 12 to 18 inches in the Twin Counties.
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    Contributed photoSnow blankets Warren Street near 5th Street in Hudson late Sunday.
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    Hudson was blanketed in more than a half a foot of snow after snowstorm moved through the Twin Counties on Monday. (Lance Wheeler for Columbia-Greene Media)
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    Hudson residents clean up on Warren Street on Monday after a snowstorm swept the area Sunday and Monday. (Lance Wheeler for Columbia-Greene Media)
December 1, 2019 02:28 pm Updated: December 2, 2019 01:49 pm

HUDSON — Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a state of emergency for the Capital Region, including Columbia and Greene counties, Monday.

“I’m also deploying 300 members of the National Guard to assist with snow removal and clean-up operations in these counties,” Cuomo said in a statement.

The governor’s declaration came after the first part of the season’s first major snowstorm swept through the Twin Counties Sunday afternoon into Monday morning. The National Weather Service in Albany has issued a winter storm warning for Columbia and Greene counties, effective from 11 a.m. Sunday to 7 a.m. Tuesday.

States of Emergency were also declared for Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Saratoga and Ulster counties.

Another round of heavy snow was expected Monday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service in Albany. An additional 2 to 4 inches was expected during the day and a total of 3 to 5 inches added by Monday night. Temperatures will be in the 30s throughout the day. Possible snow mixed with sleet in the evening was predicted to make roads dangerous for travel tonight, according to the National Weather Service.

“Travel could be very difficult to impossible,” according to the National Weather service statement. “The hazardous conditions could impact the Monday morning and evening commutes.”

The National Weather Service says motorists who must travel should keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in their vehicle in case of an emergency.

The snow started to fall in many areas in the Twin Counties early Sunday afternoon. Snowfall became heavy during the day, but slowed down later that night, according to the National Weather Service in Albany. Snowfall rates exceeded one inch per hour at times. Snow-covered roads made for dangerous travel conditions, with very low visibility, according to the National Weather Service.

Snowfall totals for the Twin Counties after the storm is all said and done are expected to be between 12 and 18 inches. As of 4 a.m. Monday, Austerlitz saw 7.5 inches of snow; Livingston, 7 inches; Clermont, 6.5 inches; and Taghkanic saw 6.3 inches. Ten inches of snowfall was reported to have fallen in Greenville Center in Greene County, according to the National Weather Service.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered non-essential state employees in the Capital Region to stay home from work Monday.

“I am placing National Guard personnel on standby and activating our emergency command center to ensure we are able to respond quickly and effectively to this storm,” Cuomo said in a statement Sunday. “I urge New Yorkers to exercise caution in the face of snow, black ice, and other hazardous conditions.”

All public schools in the Twin Counties were closed in advance of the snowstorm. Courts in Columbia and Greene counties also were closed. Several municipal offices closed, including Germantown Town, Cairo Town and Philmont Village halls.

The Columbia County Clerk and DMV’s offices at 560 Warren St. will be closing at 2 p.m. Monday just as more heavy snow is expected to fall.

Columbia Memorial Health closed its Cairo Family Care, Windham Medical Care, Columbia Memorial Health Pediatrics in Hudson, Twin County Cardiology, and its Columbia Memorial Health Rehab Clinic. The following will open at 11 a.m. today: Copake Family Care, Pulmonology and Columbia Memorial Health Pediatrics in Catskill. The Women’s Health center will open at noon.

No outages were reported to Central Hudson, NYSEG or Central Hudson as of 1:30 p.m. Monday.

Utility companies are preparing for outages nonetheless.

“Weather forecasts are calling for significant snowfall, sleet and ice across our region,” according to a statement from National Grid on Sunday. “We have line, service and tree workers at the ready to respond if the weather impacts electricity service. We want to ensure you are prepared, too. It is a good idea to keep flashlights and extra batteries at home and to keep mobile devices fully charged so you can stay connected in the event of an outage.”

“[NYSEG has] taken a proactive footing in advance of the storm, pre-staging hundreds of field personnel throughout the state to allow for a quick response should outages occur,” according to a statement from New York State Electric and Gas.

No traffic delays were reported on the Rip Van Winkle Bridge thought Monday, and traffic and snow was reported to be light, according to a statement from the state Bridge Authority.

There was no garbage pick up in Greenport on Monday as a result of the storm. Columbia County public transportation was not running Monday due to the weather.

About four minor vehicle accidents occurred in Hudson since the storm began Sunday, including when a vehicle skidded into a snow plow truck, according to the Hudson Police Department.

New York State Police reported no major traffic incidents in Columbia or Greene counties as a result of the storm. Fewer drivers were on the roads Monday, which helped keep accidents and disabled vehicles down, Trooper Aaron Hicks, spokesperson for the New York State Police said.

“The New York State Police have readied assets including all 4x4s, high-axle vehicles and boats for deployment as needed,” according to the governor’s office. “Troopers have been instructed to remain on high alert and to closely monitor flood prone areas for rising waters while on patrol.”

What residents should do

Snow plows and sanders were on the Rip Van Winkle Bridge at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, before the snow began. The state Department of Transportation asked residents to be cautious on the roads if they have to travel.

“We’ve pre-treated the roads, tuned up our snowplows and shifted resources,” according to the state Department of Transportation statement. “Stay off the roads as much as possible during the storm, and when you do venture out, don’t crowd the plows.”

The Hudson Fire Department issued a reminder to residents to keep fire hydrants clear of snow. The department recommends keeping a 3-foot perimeter around the hydrant clear of snow.

“Fire trucks carry a limited amount of water, so one of the first tasks upon arriving at a fire is to locate a water supply from the nearest hydrant,” according to a statement from the department. “Hydrants covered in snow can be difficult to locate, and uncovering them can waste valuable time needed during a fire fight.”

Snow emergencies and parking restrictions

In Catskill, snow removal parking restrictions began Sunday at 8 a.m. All vehicles should be parked on the even side of the street from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Vehicles then need to be moved and parked on the odd side of village streets from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. Vehicles will continue to alternate sides of the street every 12 hours, until the snow emergency has been canceled. Parking enforcement will remain in effect until all snow is removed from the village’s streets. Effective Sunday from 11 p.m. until 8 a.m. there will be no parking on Main Street from Greene Street to Summit Avenue each evening to ensure that Main Street is one of the first streets to be cleared of snow. Residents who usually park on Main Street should utilize the municipal parking lots. Any vehicle violating parking restrictions will be ticketed and towed at the owner’s expense. For more information, call the Catskill Village Police Department at 518-943-2244.

In Greenport, there will be no parking along the roads during the snow removal. Drivers could be ticketed, and the set fine is $100, plus towing fees. The owner of a passenger van and a tractor-trailer were ticketed Monday morning for failing to remove their vehicles from the town streets, according to Greenport Police Department.

The village of Chatham issued a snow emergency. No parking is allowed on Kinderhook Street, Woodbridge Avenue, Cemetery Hill Road, Library Place, and Locust Street from noon Sunday until further notice, according to a statement from Mayor John Howe. Drivers are encouraged to park in the Depot Square parking lot. There is no overnight parking on Chatham village streets from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. All two-hour parking limits will be enforced during the snow emergency.

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