Snow makes Capital Region roads treacherous

PETER R. BARBER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER Excessive speed was the factor in this accident on Western Turnpike near the Interstate 88 exit 24 flyover in the town of Duanesburg Thursday, December 22, 2016. One driver was transported to Ellis Hospital for treatment.PETER R. BARBER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER Excessive speed was the factor in this accident on Western Turnpike near the Interstate 88 exit 24 flyover in the town of Duanesburg Thursday, December 22, 2016. One driver was transported to Ellis Hospital for treatment.

CAPITAL REGION — Snow and slush coated the roads Thursday morning, making for a messy commute and some angst for at least one school official.

“There are minor accidents all over the county,” the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office reported.

On the Northway, an accident north of Exit 15 caused traffic to be reduced to a single lane, causing a backup to Exit 16.

“Right now it’s all about driving with caution,” said a dispatcher at Schenectady County’s communication center earlier in the morning.

According to the National Weather Service, light snow was expected to fall across the Capital Region until late afternoon. One to three inches was expected in the Northern part of the region. For southern regions, such as Schenectady County, only one inch was likely to accumulate.

Schenectady County urged residents to drive only if they have to. Otherwise, they should stay off the roads until later in the day.

Niskayuna School District’s superintendent sent an email to parents apologizing for not delaying the start of the school day — or canceling altogether.

“We did not anticipate the amount of snow and the timing that impacted travel this morning,” said Cosimo Tangorra, in the email. “We also had no indication that the conditions would be so severe. Please know that I recognize that a delayed start or cancellation would have been appropriate, and that this morning’s conditions were difficult for young drivers.”

Though no major accidents were reported in Niskayuna, a few drivers went off the road, said Niskayuna Deputy Chief of Police Michael Stevens.

According to the National Weather Service, about an inch of snow was predicted to accumulate in Schenectady County over the course of Thursday morning. But one to two inches had accumulated as of late morning.

“It was a pretty sharp cut-off between where it snowed and where it didn’t, and unfortunately, it started right during morning commute times,” said Dan Thompson of the National Weather Service in Albany.

“Most of the accumulating snowfall has ended for the day. It’ll be in the mid to upper 30s for the rest of the day.”

The commute home should be much smoother than the drive in, Thompson added.