Governor Warns Motorists - Especially Tractor Trailers - to be Prepared for Road Closures
Substantial MTA Service Changes Anticipated Across Subways, Buses, Metro-North and LIRR
Blizzard and Winter Storm Warnings Go Into Effect Monday Evening Across the State
Blizzard Conditions Possible with 16-20 inches of Snow Expected in Lower Mid-Hudson Valley, New York City, and Long Island Regions
12-18 Inches of Snow is Expected to Cover the Entire Portion of Upstate New York with 8-12 Inches in the North Country
State Agencies Have Pre-Positioned High-Axle Vehicles, 4x4 Vehicles and Heavy Equipment to Downstate Regions
State Stockpile Resources – Including Sandbags, Generators and Pumps –Deployed Across the State
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today activated the State Emergency Operations Center for Monday evening to prepare and respond to the Nor'easter that is expected to reach New York State late Monday night. At the Governor's direction, State agencies have already pre-positioned personnel, assets, and state stockpile resources – including sandbags, generators and pumps – to areas of the state where the storm will be at its strongest.
With the snow storm approaching, the Governor urges commuters to drive with caution for the Tuesday morning and afternoon commutes, and to avoid unnecessary travel. Motorists, especially tractor trailers, should be prepared for road closures across the state.
"In preparation for blizzard-like conditions, I will be activating the State Emergency Operations Center and have directed state agencies to continue proactively preparing communities and roadways for this major storm," Governor Cuomo said. "We remain in constant contact with local officials in every region, as New York prepares to aggressively clear roads, provide personnel and storm equipment as needed, and offer immediate assistance to communities across the state. I strongly urge everyone to limit unnecessary travel on Tuesday, and if you must drive, please plan ahead, be careful, and stay safe."
Snow is expected to cover Upstate New York, where 12 to 16 inches of snow is anticipated in Western New York, the Finger Lakes, and Central New York regions with higher totals in higher elevations likely. The heaviest snow accumulations are expected south and east of the of the Capital Region where 12 to 18 inches of snow is expected from late Monday night through late Tuesday night. Peak snowfall will be Tuesday and snow may linger in the higher elevations into Wednesday.
Snow will move into the lower Mid-Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island regions after midnight on Monday. Heavy snow will be begin early Monday morning and affect the Tuesday morning rush hour. By the evening commute, there is strong potential for 16 to 20 inches of snow with whiteout conditions throughout the day. Snowfall rates may reach 2 to 4 inches per hour at intermittent periods throughout the day, which will be exacerbated by gusty winds of 40-50 miles per hour in New York City and Long Island. Driving will be especially hazardous on Tuesday for both the morning and evening commutes. Minor coastal flooding is also expected during high tide. Residents in these regions should expect possible closures, delays and cancellations, and regularly monitor for updated information to plan ahead.
- Winter Storm Warnings will go in effect for the Western New York region, Finger Lakes region, Central New York region, Mohawk Valley region, Southern Tier, and Capital Region from Monday night through Wednesday night.
- Winter Storm Warnings will go into effect for the upper Mid-Hudson Valley region and the Eastern Long Island region from late Monday night through Tuesday night.
- Winter Storm Warnings will go into effect for the North Country region from Tuesday morning through Wednesday morning.
- Blizzard Warning will go into effect for the lower Mid-Hudson Valley, New York City, and Western Long Island regions from late Monday night through Tuesday night.
- A Coastal Flood Warning will go into effect from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Tuesday along the South Bays of western Long Island and the Atlantic Ocean beachfront.
Representatives from the following state agencies and emergency response partners have been directed to report to the State Emergency Operation Center for storm preparation and response starting Monday evening:
- Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
- Office of Emergency Management
- Office of Fire Prevention and Control
- Department of Transportation
- New York State Thruway
- State Police
- Department of Public Service
- Division of Military and Naval Affairs
- Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
- Department of Environmental Conservation
- American Red Cross
- Office of Information Technology Services
State Agency Preparations for Nor'easter
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
In addition to activating the Emergency Operations Center, the Division of Homeland Security’s Office of Emergency Management is communicating with the National Weather Service and is coordinating with local emergency managers across the state. DHSES will pre-position two six-person tracked UTVs and one eight-person tracked vehicle with staff to Brentwood Stockpile on Long Island, with two high-axle vehicles. Also, one high-axle vehicle with two six-person tracked UTVs will be pre-positioned in Mid-Hudson Valley region with personnel. Additional six-person tracked UTVs are on standby for movement to other portions of the state as necessary.
Department of Transportation
The New York State Department of Transportation has 3,847 operators and supervisors statewide and is ready to respond with 1,600 large plow/dump trucks, 200 medium plow/dump trucks, 324 loaders, 42 truck/loader mounted snow blowers, 61 tow plows, 20 graders and 15 pickup trucks with plows. The DOT also has more than 443,000 tons of road salt on hand. Upstate regions will be providing an additional 176 operators and supervisors, 12 Storm Managers, 30 trucks, and 12 loader/snowblowers to serve Long Island and the Mid-Hudson region for the duration of this storm. The Long Island Expressway will have 100 plows servicing the road – double the normal deployment for a snowstorm. DOT continues to monitor the forecast to ensure that out-of-region resources are being deployed to the areas that are expected to be hardest-hit by the storm.
Motorists are reminded to check 511NY by calling 511, or visiting www.511ny.org before traveling. The free service allows users to check road conditions and transit information. Mobile users can download the free 511NY mobile app from the iTunes or Google Play stores. The app 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 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 Thruway Authority has more than 592 supervisors and operators ready to deploy 201 large snow plows, 110 medium snow plows and 54 loaders across the state with more than 114,800 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.
The Thruway Authority encourages motorists to sign up for TRANSalert e-mails which provide the latest traffic conditions along the Thruway. Motorists can sign up for TRANSalerts by following this link: www.thruway.ny.gov/tas/index.shtml. Thruway travelers can also get real-time updates by following @ThruwayTraffic on Twitter or by visiting www.thruway.ny.gov to see an interactive map showing traffic conditions for the Thruway and other New York State roadways.
The New York State Police will deploy additional patrols for the duration of the storm, and all resources will be available as needed, including 4X4 vehicles, all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles. High-axle vehicles will also be ready for deployment to affected areas as needed.
New York National Guard
The New York National Guard Joint Operations Center is active and monitoring the situation with 800 members engaged in operations. The New York National Guard has 450 members with 107 vehicles deployed downstate, 100 members with 35 vehicles deployed in Capital District, 50 members with 22 vehicles deployed in Central New York and 140 members with 30 vehicles deployed in Western New York. Additional personnel will staff Joint Task Force Headquarters in New York City, Mid-Hudson and Buffalo Regions. The National Guard is also prepared to respond if needed with personnel and high-axle vehicles on Long Island, in New York City, the Mid-Hudson Valley and other regions of the state.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
MTA personnel will continue to monitor the U.S. National Weather Service and have direct access to a customized weather prediction service that provides regularly updated weather forecasts. Substantial MTA service changes are anticipated across subways, buses, Metro-North and LIRR. More information will be provided later today.
Customers are strongly encouraged to sign up for the MTA’s various electronic notification systems – including direct email and text alerts for a customer’s specific travel – via www.mymtaalerts.com and check www.mta.info for updates, including modified emergency schedules.
Subways and Buses
New York City Transit will monitor conditions for subways and buses continuously via its “Incident Command Center” situation room. Approximately 13,000 personnel will be on duty for subways during the storm, including more than 9,700 personnel dedicated to snow-fighting, staged throughout the system and working up to 12-hour shifts. Snow-fighting equipment for subways will include more than 2,000 snow melting devices at switches and other infrastructure, about 1,500 3rd rail heaters, “scraper shoes” on approximately 80 trains, 10 snowthrowers, four jetblowers, and seven de-icer train cars.
Bus operations will employ more than 90 pieces of snow-fighting equipment to supplement the work of municipal agencies. All buses in service will have tires chained. There will be up to 30 percent reduction in local, limited and SBS bus service starting Tuesday morning, and all articulated buses will be replaced in service by standard 40-foot buses. Previously planned subway maintenance, rehabilitation and construction projects (such as FASTRACK) will be canceled Monday overnight and Tuesday.
Bridges and Tunnels
Command Center is activating additional weather desks and is currently monitoring conditions continuously to ensure efficient deployment of personnel and resources. Electronic weather sensors are functional and all facilities have the ability to monitor weather and roadway conditions. There are more than 9,000 tons of roadway de-icer on hand and more than 100 pieces of storm fighting equipment including trucks and plows are ready. Approximately 350 maintenance or operations personnel will be deployed during the storm, including about 270 specifically for snow-fighting.
Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road are deploying extra staff, specialized equipment, and continuously monitoring conditions ahead of the storm. This includes more than 3,000 personnel working specifically on storm preparation and response. Close to 700 pieces of storm-fighting equipment will be deployed, including up to 360 snowblowers, up to 35 pickup truck plows, and up to 7 rail-bound jets. Scheduled work will be canceled during the storm. Conditions will be re-evaluated throughout the day. Long Island Rail Road also has 800,000 pounds of salt available.
Before a winter storm, snow fighting equipment is winterized, tested and positioned strategically throughout both railroads to start operation as soon as snow accumulations begin. Protective heat circuits are verified to be operational, air brake lines are purged of any moisture to prevent them from freezing, electric trains are fitted with special third rail shoes to prevent snow from accumulating, exposed shoes are treated with de-icer, and exposed couplers are covered to keep snow out. Door panels are also sprayed with an anti-freeze agent and rescue equipment is fueled. Scheduled track work will be canceled to allow personnel to concentrate efforts on storm preparation and response.
During the storm, anti-freeze trains will be deployed throughout the systems to spray de-icer on the third rail in an effort to prevent ice-build-up, and non-passenger patrol trains will operate along the right-of-way to prevent snowdrifts from forming on the tracks. At stations, extra personnel will pre-salt platforms before the storm and clear platforms of snow during and after the storm. Waiting rooms will be kept open around the clock to provide shelter for customers waiting for trains.
The fleet of more than 2,000 vehicles is ready with snow tires, with 200 sets of tire chains also available. Salt and snow removal equipment are in place to supplement municipal snow-fighting activity. Due to the prediction of potential snowfall starting Monday evening, Access-A-Ride customers may experience additional travel and wait times. Depending on conditions, customers may want to reconsider travel, unless medically necessary. Customers are also advised to follow agency announcements about any curtailed service. For the Access-A-Ride paratransit service, a dashboard storm monitoring system is in place to track immobilized vehicles and customers. New York City Transit has also coordinated a procedure with New York City first responders and the Office of Emergency Management for rescuing customers on immobilized vehicles or those who develop medical needs during storms. Also in place is a new paratransit-specific Storm Action Plan that includes processes for curtailing all non-medically essential service.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is making extensive preparations involving personnel and equipment at all of its facilities in expectation of the strong winter storm currently forecast to begin Monday night through Tuesday. The agency’s Office of Emergency Management is in contact with other local, state and federal officials and agencies and will develop regional preparations for the upcoming storm in consultation with them.
The following equipment and supplies are available at the Port Authority’s major transportation facilities in the event of a major storm:
- Hundreds of pieces of snow equipment at the airports, including melters able to liquefy up to 500 tons of snow an hour and plows that can clear snow at 40 mph, and dozens of pieces of snow equipment at PA bridges and tunnels;
- Thousands of tons of salt and sand for airport roads, parking lots, bridges and tunnels;
- Hundreds of thousands of gallons of liquid chemicals at the airports to prevent snow and ice from bonding to runways and taxiways; thousands of tons of solid de-icers that break up snow and ice already on the ground; and
- Plow-equipped trains and snow-melting materials to clear the agency’s PATH station tracks and facilities.
For up-to-the-minute updates on Port Authority crossings, airports and the PATH system, travelers are encouraged to sign up for Port Authority alerts at www.paalerts.com. Travelers may also call 511 or visit 511NY.org or 511NJ.org for further information on highway conditions.
Department of Public Service
The Department of Public Service is in contact with utility senior executives to ensure that the utilities are prepared for inclement weather, and it will be closely monitoring utility storm-preparation efforts to ensure that utilities stand ready to minimize outages and speed outage restorations. Electric and gas utilities, as well as telecommunication service providers, such as Verizon, are prepared to bring on additional manpower to minimize service disruptions, if they occur. Utilities are prepared to respond 24 hours a day to power disruptions and are mandated to implement their emergency response plans, when needed, which includes contacting customers on life-support equipment and other critical customers.
In light of the potential inclement weather expected, the Department will expand its Call Center Helpline hours, if needed, beginning Tuesday, March 14 from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., to assist consumers in storm response and restoration efforts, and Wednesday, March 15, if needed. The Department’s Call Center Helpline can be reached by calling (800) 342-3377. Department staff will monitor and report on storm impacts and utility restoration activities throughout the event and will be present in the field, as needed.
How to Contact Your Utility:
- Central Hudson: (845) 452-2700 or (800) 527-2714, or go to www.centralhudson.com
- Con Edison: (800) 75-CONED (800-752-6633), or go to www.coned.com
- PSEG-Long Island: (800) 490-0075, or go to www.psegliny.com
- National Grid (upstate electric): (800) 867-5222, or go to www.nationalgridus.com
- National Grid (upstate gas): (800) 642-4272, or go to www.nationalgridus.com
- National Grid (metro area gas): (718) 643-4050, or go to www.nationalgridus.com
- National Grid (Long Island gas): (800) 490-0045, or go to www.nationalgridus.com
- NYSEG (electric): (800) 572-1131, or go to www.nyseg.com
- NYSEG (gas): (800) 572-1121, or go to www.nyseg.com
- Orange & Rockland: (877) 434-4100, or go towww.oru.com
- Rochester Gas & Electric (electric): (800) 743-1701, or go to www.rge.com
- Rochester Gas & Electric (gas): (800) 743-1701, or go to www.rge.com
Department of Environmental Conservation
The State Department of Environmental Conservation is mobilizing Environmental Conservation Officers, Forest Rangers and other staff assets in the Mid-Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island regions, including ATV's, UTV's, snowmobiles, and 4x4 trucks available to assist in any necessary response efforts. DEC coastal engineering experts are also ready to assist in monitoring for potential flooding and coastal erosion from the storm. Other public protection and spill response staff are coordinating with other state and local partners to provide additional assistance as needed.
Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
In preparation for severe winter weather, New York State Parks has alerted park police and park personnel to closely monitor weather updates and storm preparation efforts. New York State Parks has more than 500 emergency equipment resources on hand and ready for deployment. This includes light and medium duty plows, snowmobiles, 4x4 vehicles, ATV's and portable generators. Park visitors should monitor www.nysparks.com or call their local park office for the latest updates regarding park hours, openings and closings.
All residents should have the following items available:
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- Battery-powered portable radio or NOAA Weather Radio to receive emergency information.
- 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.
Safety on the Road
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.
The leading cause of death and injuries during winter storms is transportation accidents.
- Before getting behind the wheel or your car, clear it of ice and snow. 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.
Trapped in a Car
With blizzard conditions expected, here are some tips to follow:
- Stay in your car and wait for help to find you.
- Run your engine for short periods of time to stay warm. Keep your down-wind window open and make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of snow.
- Turn on the dome light at night when you are running the engine to signal rescuers.
- Hang a brightly colored piece of cloth or piece of clothing from your car.
- Exercise from time to time by vigorously moving arms, legs, fingers and toes to keep blood circulating and to keep warm.