Most of upstate New York was covered in a blanket of three feet of snow with the wind at an average velocity of 25 to 30 mph. Snowfall rivaled the famous blizzard of March 1888. Communication to and from the entire Adirondack region was badly crippled with many towns completely isolated. Highway connections were entirely cut off as were railroad connections in all directions.
In Old Forge, the snow was piled so high in the streets that houses were hidden. Streets were drifted so badly that coal dealers were unable to make deliveries, leaving some residents without coal. The village tractor plow battled for three hours with the snow Friday in making the trip from Boonville to Thendara. The plow was kept in operation throughout the night to keep the road open.
Many trains were stalled by huge snowdrifts. Two and three engines were necessary to haul fast deluxe specials which were delayed far beyond schedules. Passengers fatigued from a series of delays, were stranded at Union Station for long periods. Some of them slept all night on the benches in the waiting room as was done the previous night. More than 3,000 people were fed, at the station’s restaurant on Friday, at the expense of the New York Central Railroad.
New York Central trains, running from 12 to 16 hours late out of Utica became stalled frequently at points between Albany and Rochester. Clearing tracks for resumption of normal traffic was not possible before early the next week since continued drifting of snow made traction hard. In addition to the double heading of trains, 200 laborers with shovels and brooms were working in the New York Central yards to keep the tracks open. It was a tedious task, 15 to 20 men cleaning out a single switch only to have the wind cover up that switch again.
No freight was received at any of the three local freight stations Friday, huge drifts making it impossible for trucks to get near. All employees of the freight houses were kept busy for days digging the lanes necessary for shipping goods.
Trolley service was overwhelmed as the fury of the storm inundated the Utica lines of the New York State Railways more completely than those in Syracuse and Rochester where one or more lines were started on Friday morning (the depth of the snow, up to that time, was unparalleled in the history of Syracuse).
In Utica, plows and sweepers were unable to keep up with the snow that was rapidly covering the trolley rails as passenger cars ahead of the snow equipment became derailed by snow clogs leaving the plows and sweepers tied up helpless. More than 300 men with shovels were put on the job. Their first attempt being made to open the Genesee and Bleecker lines. Sixteen passengers on the third rail car out of Syracuse at 6:34 PM – including a few women and children - spent the night and the best part of the next day in the car. The management of the New York State Railways arranged with a nearby farm house to furnish meals and a supply of coal to heat the car.