Governor Directs State Agencies to Deploy State Resources in Advance of Storm
Storm Impact Expected to Last from Sunday Evening through Monday Morning
Mixed Precipitation will turn to Heavy, Wet Snow Resulting in Hazardous Driving Conditions through the Monday Morning Commute
Governor Cuomo today urged New Yorkers to prepare for heavy, wet snow which will impact the vast majority of the state, especially Central New York, the Capital Region, the North Country and the Southern Tier. Travel will be difficult on Sunday throughout the day and could impact the Monday morning commute.
"As we brace for another round of severe winter weather, I encourage New Yorkers to stay informed and stay safe until the storms pass," Governor Cuomo said. "We are continuously monitoring the storm's path and deploying resources as necessary. I urge all residents in affected regions to stay off the roads until the warnings are lifted."
In the western parts of the state, sleet and freezing rain will begin tonight and early Sunday morning, then transition to heavy snow, with some blowing snow Sunday night into Monday morning. The southwest and northwest parts of the state will encounter heavy snow beginning Sunday afternoon through the early hours of Monday morning. Accumulations of 3 to 4 inches are likely in Buffalo and 8 to 12 inches, are possible the higher elevations of the Chautauqua Ridge, potentially experiencing 12 to 18 inches.
The Central New York region, western Mohawk Valley, and the Southern Tier will see a wintry mix which will develop late tonight into Sunday. Most of the area will have rain and sleet midday Sunday which will change to an accumulating snow late Sunday through Monday accompanied by very gusty winds on Monday. Snow accumulations will be generally 2 to 6 inches for the Southern Tier and 8 to 10 inches in Central New York and the Mohawk Valley.
Snow will spread into the Capital Region, eastern Mohawk Valley, and the upper Hudson Valley Sunday morning and taper off late Sunday night into early Monday. Snow accumulations of 10 to 12 inches are likely in the Capital Region and the Eastern Mohawk Valley and 5 to 10 inches in the upper Hudson Valley.
The North Country will see accumulations of 8 to 10 inches with the heaviest snowfall rates of one inch per hour possible Sunday evening for Monday morning. Snow will gradually decrease in coverage and intensity Monday afternoon before tapering off Monday night.
State Agency Preparations
The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services' Office of Emergency Management is coordinating preparations and resource allocations with state agencies and local governments in anticipation of the storm. The State Watch Center will be staffed for enhanced monitoring through the day tomorrow and Monday. The nine State Emergency Stockpiles, strategically located throughout the state, are equipped with generators, light towers, pumps, water, meals, cots, blankets, pillows, flashlights and various other tools and equipment, readied for service should the need arise. The stockpile in Guilderland, Albany County is also prepared with two High Axle Vehicles, each equipped with blankets and hand tools, one eight person tracked SUV, three enclosed, six seat, tracked Utility Vehicles, and two, two seat, tracked Utility Vehicles. The Brentwood stockpile in Nassau County has two High Axle Vehicles each equipped with blankets and hand tools.
The Thruway Authority’s winter weather preparations include a 24-hour staff rotation for maintenance personnel, snow removal equipment ready for deployment, and ample salt and fuel supplies to keep the roadways clear and safe. The New York State Thruway Authority has more than 600 operators and supervisors ready to deploy 203 Large Snow Plows, 111 Medium Snow Plows and 53 Loaders across the state with more than 105,000 tons of road salt on hand. Variable Message Signs, Highway Advisory Radio and social media are utilized to alert motorists of winter weather conditions on the Thruway.
Motorists are encouraged to sign up for TRANSalerts e-mails, which provide the latest traffic conditions along the Thruway. Thruway travelers can also get real-time updates by following @ThruwayTraffic on Twitter or by visiting thruway.ny.gov to see an interactive map showing traffic conditions for the Thruway and other New York State roadways.
The New York State Department of Transportation has more than 3,823 operators and supervisors statewide and is ready to respond with 1,485 large plow/dump trucks, 207 medium plow/dump trucks, 327 loaders, 44 truck/loader mounted snow blowers, 60 tow plows, 20 graders and 14 pickup trucks with plows. The Department of Transportation also has more than 395,000 tons of road salt on hand.
Motorists are reminded to check 511NY by calling 511 or by accessing www.511ny.org before traveling. The free service allows users to check road conditions and transit information. Mobile users can download the updated, free 511NY mobile app from the iTunes or Google Play stores. The app now features Drive mode, which provides audible alerts along a chosen route while a user is driving, warning them about incidents and construction. Users can set a destination prior to departing and receive information on up to three routes.
The New York State Police will deploy additional patrols during the storm as needed.
All New Yorkers can obtain emergency information through NY-ALERT, the State’s free, all-hazards, web-based alert and notification system. To subscribe, visit nyalert.gov. If you do not own or have access to a computer, call toll-free 1-888-697-6972.
All residents should have the following items available:
· Flashlight and extra batteries.
· Battery-powered portable radio or NOAA Weather Radio to receive emergency information. The radio will allow you to listen to weather forecasts, information, and other emergency broadcasts by local authorities.
· Seven to ten days’ supply of food. High-energy food, such as dried fruit or candy, and food requiring no cooking or refrigeration is best. Also stock an emergency supply of bottled water. The recommended amount is one gallon per person per day for 7 to 10 days.
· A one-week supply of essential medicines and baby items.
· First aid kit and supplies.
· Extra blankets and sleeping bags.
· Fire extinguisher and smoke detector – test regularly to ensure they are working properly.
It is important for motorists on all roads to note that snowplows travel at speeds up to 35 miles per hour, which in many cases is lower than the posted speed limit, to ensure that salt being dispersed stays in the driving lanes and does not scatter off the roadways. Oftentimes on interstate highways, snowplows will operate side by side, as this is the most efficient and safe way to clear several lanes at one time.
Motorists and pedestrians should also keep in mind that snowplow drivers have limited lines of sight, and the size and weight of snowplows can make it very difficult to maneuver and stop quickly. Snow blowing from behind the plow can severely reduce visibility or cause whiteout conditions. Motorists should not attempt to pass snowplows or follow too closely. The safest place for motorists to drive is well behind the snowplows where the roadway is clear and salted.
Some of the most important tips for safe winter driving include:
· When winter storms strike, do not drive unless necessary.
· If you must travel, make sure your car is stocked with survival gear like blankets, a shovel, flashlight and extra batteries, extra warm clothing, set of tire chains, battery booster cables, quick energy foods and brightly-colored cloth to use as a distress flag.
· Keep your gas tank full to prevent gasoline freeze-up.
· If you have a cell phone or two-way radio available for your use, keep the battery charged and keep it with you whenever traveling. If you should become stranded, you will be able to call for help, advising rescuers of your location.
· Make sure someone knows your travel plans.
Winterize Your Vehicle
Preparing your vehicle for winter storms now will help ensure your vehicle is in good working order when you need it most.
· Have a mechanic check the following items on your vehicle: o Battery
o Wipers and windshield washer fluid
o Ignition system
o Exhaust system
o Flashing hazard lights
o Oil level· Install good winter tires. Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. You may also want to carry a set of tire chains in your vehicle for heavy snow conditions.
· Keep a windshield scraper and small broom for ice and snow removal and maintain at least a half tank of gas throughout the winter season.
· Finally, plan long trips carefully. Listen to the local media report or call law enforcement agencies for the latest road conditions.
· The leading cause of death and injuries during winter storms is transportation accidents.
· Keep your vehicles clear of ice and snow before getting behind the wheel. Good vision is a key to good driving.
· Plan your stops and keep more distance between cars. Be extra alert. Remember, snowdrifts can hide smaller children. Moreover, always match your speed to the road and weather conditions.
Dress for the Season
· Wear loose, lightweight, warm clothing in several layers. Trapped air between the layers acts as an insulator. Layers can be removed to avoid perspiration and subsequent chill.
· Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellent and hooded.
· Always wear a hat or cap on your head since half of your body heat could be lost through an uncovered head.
· Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from extreme cold.
· Mittens, snug at the wrist, are better than gloves because fingers maintain more warmth when they touch each other.
Winter storm conditions and cold waves are the deadliest types of weather. Cold temperatures put an extra strain on your heart. Heavy exertion, such as shoveling snow, clearing debris or pushing a car, increase the risk of a heart attack. To avoid problems, remember these tips:
· Stay warm, dress warm and SLOW DOWN when working outdoors.
· Take frequent rests to avoid over exertion.
· If you feel chest pain -- STOP and seek help immediately.