Snowstorm to dump 8-12 inches, disrupt morning commute

A winter storm is supposed to dump 8 to 12 inches of snow on the Adirondacks as it heads northeast from the Gulf of Mexico, forecasters say. Driving to work and school Tuesday morning is not expected to be easy.

“Definitely the morning commute is going to be pretty messy,” said Conor Lahiff, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Burlington, Vermont.

He said the bulk of the snowfall in the Adirondacks will take place between midnight and 7 a.m.

“Right around midnight it’ll really get going,” he said. “That really is the bulk of the event. … You’re going to be looking at 1- to 2-inch-per-hour snowfall during that time.”

The High Peaks are expected to get the most snow — closer to the one-foot mark — and the southeast Adirondacks might get some sleet mixed in with the snow, according to Lahiff.

Unlike some recent snowstorms, this one shouldn’t have much variation in snow totals between towns in the central and northern Adirondacks.

“It’s pretty uniform, I would say,” he said. “Any place will get around 10 inches.”

As Lahiff spoke mid-afternoon Monday, the storm was centered in the Deep South states of Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. Loaded with moisture from the Gulf, it was dumping a mix of rain, ice, sleet and snow on those states and is expected to bring much of that to areas in its core all the way through New York and New England as well. New York’s North Country is expected to catch the side of the storm as its center passes south of here.

Lahiff said the Adirondack snowfall should taper off after 7 a.m., with maybe only another inch or two between then and noon. He said the storm should be out on the New England coast by Tuesday afternoon and the Canadian Maritime provinces by Tuesday night.

“Take it safe out on the roads,” he advised Tuesday morning commuters.

At this point, the state Department of Health does not expect the snowstorm will affect COVID-19 vaccinations at any state-run sites, including those in Plattsburgh and Potsdam.

“As of now, all state-run vaccine sites remain open,” DOH spokesperson Sam Fuld wrote in an email Monday evening. “Should there be any postponements due to winter weather, it will be announced promptly.”

Fuld added that if vaccination appointments must be rescheduled due to the snow, patients would be contacted by email or text and the new appointment would take place within seven days.

Suzanne Roberson of Saranac Lake found that reassuring. She and her husband are scheduled to receive their second shots of the vaccine early afternoon, and she had been worried since Monday morning about how the snowstorm might affect that.

“The concern is, sort of, not hearing anything all day and wondering what to do,” she said.

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning from 7 p.m. Monday to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Looking further ahead, Wednesday and Thursday are expected to be dry, but the National Weather Service says it’s possible more heavy snow could be on the way Thursday night into Friday.

All that snow is good news for skiers, snowmobilers and snowshoers.

“Conditions for skiing and snowshoeing at Dewey are excellent, and it looks like they are going to get even better!” said Jason Smith, manager of Dewey Mountain Recreation Center in Saranac Lake, a venue for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. “If snowfall prediction totals are accurate, we’ll be busy grooming for the next couple days.”


Staff Writer Elizabeth Izzo contributed to this report.