By LOIS CLERMONT and FELICIA KRIEG, Press-Republican
---- — PLATTSBURGH — The first big snowstorm of the season is expected to cause major travel disruptions today.
The National Weather Service in Burlington has issued a winter storm warning for the North Country covering all day today and through 7 a.m. Friday.
“It’s the typical track of a nor’easter,” Brooke Taber, meterologist at the National Weather Service station in Burlington, said Wednesday.
The higher terrain of the Adirondacks will likely see close to 20 inches of snow, Taber said.
“Plattsburgh and Peru along the western Champlain Valley are probably looking at 12 to 18 inches.”
The low-pressure system developed Wednesday near Norfolk, Va., and headed northeast along the Atlantic coast toward Boston, Taber said.
STAY OFF ROADS
“Driving conditions will be very hazardous with poor visibility, heavy snow,” Taber said.
Snow will be heavy at times this morning, he said, but should wind down by Friday morning.
Gusty winds that could create blowing or drifting snow are possible.
Clinton County Office of Emergency Services Director Eric Day advised people to stay off the roads unless driving is absolutely necessary.
“The utmost care should be taken. People just need to use common sense.”
If people refrain from driving, highway crews can clear the roads faster and more easily, Day said.
“If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency,” Essex County Office of Emergency Services advised in a news release.
Day also suggests preparing before any snowstorm.
“Be ready at home if you end up having to stay at home for a couple of days.”
It is wise to fill up vehicle gas tanks, check generators and get any items needed from the store, he said.
“A little bit of preparedness before the storm could really help you in the long run if you need it,” Day said.
GOOD FOR SKIING
While the snow may be a nuisance for some, skiers will be happy, Taber said.
“It will be mostly a powdery kind of snow. Good for skiing and outdoor enthusiasts.”
AIRPORT ON WATCH
At Plattsburgh International Airport, Manager Christopher Kreig said staffers were “watching the approaching winter storm with interest due to the potential to impact travel locally.
“We encourage passengers who are traveling between now and Friday to contact the airlines for the most up-to-date flight information,” he said in a statement Wednesday.
He provided contact information for all the airlines:
Allegiant Air: 702-505-8888, www.allegiantair.com.
PenAir: 800-448-4226, www.penair.com.
Spirit Airlines: 800-772-7117, www.spirit.com. Spirit has already canceled today’s flight to Fort Lauderdale.
Travelers can also visit the airport website at www.flyplattsburgh.com for flight-status information.
The City of Plattsburgh storm-notification lights were flashing Wednesday to signify that no parking was allowed on city streets from midnight to 6 a.m. Thursday. The ban also covers the north end of the City Parking Lot on Durkee Street.
Since storms of this magnitude often cause power outages, utility workers were anticipating a busy day.
The New York State Department of Public Service extended its Call Center Helpline hours to assist people with storm preparation. The helpline can be reached by calling 1-800-342-3377 between 7:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Here’s how to reach area utilities to report outages:
National Grid: (upstate electricity), 1-800-867-5222; and (upstate gas), 1-800-892-2345.
New York State Electric and Gas: (electricity), 1-800-572-1131 or go to www.nyseg.com; and (gas), 1-800-572-1121.
Plattsburgh Municipal Lighting Department: 563-2200.
Preparations and cancellations had started Wednesday before even one flake of snow had fallen. They include:
▶ The Essex County Board of Supervisors meeting planned for today has been postponed until Monday, Dec. 31.
A public hearing will be held at 9:45 a.m. that day on the salaries of elected county officers or those named to a fixed-term. Those employees received 2 percent pay increases in the 2013 budget.
Then, the year-end meeting will start at 10 a.m. The main topic on the agenda is a vote on renewing County Manager Daniel Palmer’s two-year contract. Palmer had previously announced his retirement, effective Jan. 1, because of disagreements with the board but relented after Supervisor Roby Politi ( R-North Elba) asked him to reconsider. Palmer said he’ll stay if the board reappoints him.
▶ The special Altona Board of Appeals public hearing scheduled today at the Town Hall has been canceled and will be rescheduled for January.
▶ The holiday meal planned for today by Impeerium Peer Network/NAMI-CV has been canceled, according to Program Director Sheri King.
▶ The Clinton County Youth Court Training scheduled for today will not be held. Participants should call 565-4754 to receive the rescheduled dates, times and locations.
— Staff Writer Lohr McKinstry contributed to this report.
Check www.pressrepublican.com throughout the day Thursday for the latest news on the snowstorm.
To report cancellations, email information to firstname.lastname@example.org.