Town Highway Department Begins Battling Blizzard, Chirico Says

Local officials monitor situation

By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong

As the first flakes from the storm dubbed Juno thickened on the ground, Philipstown Highway Superintendent Roger Chirico said late Monday afternoon (Jan. 26) that his department was ready for the onslaught — and a likely sleepless night.

The department had “chains on and three graders, two loaders, nine dump trunks with plows” all ready to go, along with four smaller trucks used on dirt roads, Chirico told Philipstown.info, while taking a break from work. “We’ve already made a couple of rounds,” clearing the initial layer of white stuff. And they would be at it for hours, he predicted. “We’ll never go home tonight.” However, he added, “it’s nothing new. We’ve been there before. We’ll make it.”

When asked what residents might need to know as the storm settles in, he repeated a perennial plea. “I’d love it if they’d not push snow down their drives onto the town roads,” he said.

Town Board Member Nancy Montgomery, who serves as deputy town supervisor, said Monday afternoon that local officials were keeping in close communication with each other and that no decisions had been made yet about opening a shelter for residents or activating the emergency operations center, a multi-jurisdiction central command post for response coordination in urgent situations.

The National Weather Service forecast for the Cold Spring area called for 9 to 13 inches of snow overnight on Monday, atop what fell Monday afternoon, and another 6 inches to 9 inches during daylight hours on Tuesday, with a further dusting Tuesday night. Other weather services anticipated total accumulation by Tuesday night of 1 to 2 feet or more.

Meanwhile, heavy vehicles — at least one laden with what appeared to be mounds of salt or sand — lumbered through Cold Spring down Route 9D, a New York State road, as darkness fell on Monday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday declared a state of emergency for Putnam and Dutchess counties, as well as other Hudson Valley counties, because of the expected heavy snowfall and high winds overnight. He said the state had prohibited tractor trailers on major state highways, as of 4 p.m., and was considering a full travel ban on roads and bridges in affected areas.

Kevin E. Foley contributed reporting to this article.


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