December 31, 2019
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Deploys State Assets Ahead of Potentially Dangerous Snow Squalls Today

TOP Governor Cuomo Deploys State Assets Ahead of...

Directs DOT and Thruway Authority to Lower Speed Limits on Major Roadways and Deploys Additional State Troopers to Assist in Response

Snow Squalls and Gusting Winds May Make Driving Difficult, Lake Effect Snow May Bring More than a Foot of Snow to Western and Northern New York

  

New Yorkers Urged to Avoid Any Unnecessary Travel, Monitor Weather and Obey All Emergency Orders

WYSIWYG

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed state winter storm response agencies to pre-deploy assets in preparation for potentially hazardous driving conditions and urged New Yorkers to prepare for inclement weather on New Year's Eve as snow squalls and gusting winds will hit several parts of the state. Beginning Tuesday afternoon, a system of snow squalls is forecasted to move east across the state and create slippery road conditions and near white-out conditions. The Governor is directing the State Department of Transportation and Thruway Authority to lower speed limits this afternoon into the evening to help keep roadways safe during difficult driving conditions. Motorists are being urged to use caution and keep a close eye on updated weather forecasts, obey all local emergency orders and celebrate New Year's Eve responsibly.

 

"These snow squalls will hit fast and furiously and I am urging the public to avoid any unnecessary travel this afternoon and evening," Governor Cuomo said. "If you are driving and get caught in white-out conditions, please pull over and wait it out. Our state response team will be working ahead of the storm to clear the roads and respond to any potential emergencies."

 

According to the National Weather Service, snow squalls are forecasted to begin at approximately 3 p.m. Tuesday afternoon in the southern Finger Lakes and western Southern Tier Regions. The system will move east across the Southern Tier, Central New York, and Mohawk Valley Regions before ending in the western Mid-Hudson Region by 10 p.m.

 

Temperatures will range from the mid-30s to the high 40s, with wind gusts as high as 35 mph in the Central New York and Finger Lakes Regions, and as high as 40 mph in the Western New York Region.  New snowfall accumulation will generally be less than an inch, except in the southern Western New York Region where several inches are forecasted and in the western North Country Region where 10 -18 inches of snow is possible due to lake effect systems.

 

At the Governor's direction, the Department of Transportation and the Thruway Authority are lowering the speed limit to 45 mph on I-90, I-86, I-81, I-84, I-88 and Rt. 17, and additional New York State Police will be deployed to assist in storm response.

 

For a complete listing of watches, warnings, advisories and latest forecasts, visit the National Weather Service website.

 

Agency Preparations

 

Department of Transportation

The State Department of Transportation is responding in multiple regions and has 3,716 supervisors and operators available statewide. Variable Message Signs in impacted areas will warn motorists about the potential for snow squalls. Speed limit reductions will be implemented as appropriate on key travel corridors.

 

Statewide equipment numbers are as follows:

  • 1586 Large Plow Trucks 
  • 180 Medium Duty Plows 
  • 52 Tow Plows 
  • 327 Large Loaders 
  • 40 Snow Blowers 
  • 74 Chippers 
  • 36 Traffic Signal Trucks 
  • 15 Tree Crew Bucket Trucks 

 

Thruway Authority

The Thruway Authority has 693 operators and supervisors ready to deploy 245 Large Snow Plows, 111 Medium Snow Plows, 11 Tow Plows and 62 Loaders across the state with more than 118,000 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.

 

The Thruway Authority is also encouraging motorists to download its mobile app which is available for free on iPhone and Android devices. The app provides motorists direct access to real-time traffic and navigation assistance while on the go. Motorists can also sign up for TRANSalert e-mails which provide the latest traffic conditions along the Thruway here

 

Division of State Police

The New York State Police has called in additional Troopers for patrols and response and has instructed all Troopers to remain vigilant and closely monitor conditions for any problems. State Police will be ready to deploy additional personnel to affected areas as needed.  All four-wheel drive vehicles are in-service and all specialty vehicles, including snowmobiles and utility vehicles, are staged and ready for deployment.

 

Department of Environmental Conservation

DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers, Forest Rangers, Emergency Management staff, and regional staff are on alert and monitoring the developing situation and actively patrolling areas and infrastructure likely to be impacted by severe weather. All available assets are positioned to assist with any emergency response, including certified sawyers and sled teams, pole saws, generators, and light stands. DEC is assessing campgrounds and State Lands in storm-impacted areas and staff are removing felled trees as necessary.

 

Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
New York State Park Police and park personnel are on alert and closely monitoring weather conditions and impacts. Response equipment is being fueled, tested and prepared for storm response use. Park visitors should check parks.ny.gov or call their local park office for the latest updates regarding park hours, openings and closings.

 

Safety Tips

The leading cause of death and injuries during winter storms is transportation accidents. Before getting behind the wheel, make sure that your vehicle is clear of ice and snow; good vision is key to good driving. Plan your stops and keep more distance between cars. Be extra alert and remember that snowdrifts can hide smaller children. Always match your speed to the road and weather conditions.

 

It is important for motorists on all roads to note that snowplows travel at speeds up to 35 mph, 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 driving include:

  • When winter storms strike, do not drive unless necessary.
  • Use caution on bridges as ice can form quicker than on roads.
  • Wet leaves on roadways can cause slippery conditions, making it important to drive at slower speeds when approaching patches of them.
  • Make sure your car is stocked with 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.
  • While driving, keep vehicles clear of ice and snow.
  • Plan stops and keep distance between cars.  Always match your speed to the road and weather conditions.

 

It's important to note that snowplows travel at speeds up to 35 mph, 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.

 

For more winter weather safety information, please visit the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services website at http://www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/safety-info.

0
Translations
Translations
Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office