Police Sgt. Carl Rust headed to a home on East Main Street to ask if they were the owners of the illegally parked vehicle.
By late Thursday afternoon Police Sgt. Carl Rust had about a dozen cars moved and only one tow. Ryan Post (left) speaking with Rust (right) about towing the vehicle on Stewart Street.
Mother Nature leaves another Valentine's Day calling card
By CAROLINE MURRAY
Mother Nature's latest blast of winter headed out of the North-east today, having left a foot of snow in its wake across the Mohawk Valley.
The Greater Amsterdam School District closed early Thursday, remained closed today, and the City of Amsterdam was still under a snow emergency as of this morning.
While the Department of Public Works began plowing city streets Thursday, the Amsterdam Police Department worked to clear illegally parked cars from the roads.
"You have to have your common sense hat on," Police Sgt. Carl Rust said while cruising around the city.
When snow emergency is in effect, Rust will work side by side with the DPW to ensure the paths are not obstructed by cars, trucks and even trailers.
The law states that all motor vehicles must be removed from city streets until the snow emergency is lifted. Failure to adhere to this rule will result in a ticket and a tow.
Thursday afternoon Rust set out on a mission, but not without giving residents plenty of opportunities to move their cars first.
When Rust spotted a car that appeared to be outside for a long period of time he would first hit the cruiser's siren. If no one poked their head outside claiming ownership he would then knock on the neighbors' doors asking if the car belonged to them.
If there was no response, Rust would radio in the license plate number to the dispatch.
He explained the dispatch would try to find the phone number of the owner and contact them about the car.
For the most part, residents would run outside of their homes -- in pajamas, snow boots and gloves -- assuring Rust they would move the car.
Some even thanked Rust for not ticketing them right away.
"I'm not out here to ruin someone's day," Rust said. " I feel good about them moving rather than be ticketed -- but by all means, we have to do our jobs."
During Rust's patrol he would often stop and flag down DPW employees in their plow trucks and sanders asking if there were any streets blocked by vehicles.
If there were any real issues, DPW General Foreman Raymond Halgas would call Rust to let him know of a street that needed clearing.
By 3 p.m. Thursday, Rust had about a dozen cars moved and only one tow.
"Plow guys love you -- they appreciate us doing this for them," said Rust.
Halgas said Rust arrived at his office early to learn the game plan and told him that the main hills and secondary streets were the most important to keep free of vehicles.
Halgas was not worried about the storm, however. He said that compared to past snowy days there were not a lot of residents calling about roads in need of plowing.
The most phone calls his department received were about garbage pickup and if it was canceled for today (Friday).
"Garbage is still on schedule. We haven't canceled it -- all depends on what happens throughout the night it is something we can't predict," said Halgas.
He was hopeful the climate would shift next week.
According to National Weather Service in Albany meteorologist Steve DiRienzo next week's weather is expected to warm up.
DiRienzo said that this is the snowiest capital region winter since 2011. However, it is not record breaking by any means. After this week's storm, DiRienzo predicted that the region would have accumulated 60 inches of snow in total for the year.
The snowiest winter upstate New Yorkers have endured was 112.5 inches in 1971. However, DiRienzo said it is too soon to tell when the blustery snowfalls will end for the season.
"It is early still. We get snow in this part of the world up until April," he said.