New York City and Mid-Hudson Regions to Experience 4 to 8 Inches of Snow; Long Island to Experience 4 to 7 Inches of Snow
Winter Storm Warning for Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Westchester, Bronx, New York, Queens, Richmond, Nassau and Suffolk Counties Goes into Effect at 1:00 p.m. until March 4 at 7:00 a.m.
New Yorkers Urged to Use Caution While Traveling as Storm Will Impact Monday Morning Commute
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the deployment of state assets to regions of the state expected to be hit hardest in advance of a widespread winter storm that has the potential to bring heavy snowfall on Sunday night into early Monday morning. The system is expected to produce 4 to 8 inches in the New York City and Mid-Hudson regions, and 4 to 7 inches on Long Island. This system could create difficult driving conditions for the Monday morning commute and New Yorkers should use caution while traveling.
"Extreme weather is the new norm, and we have another anticipated snow event that is expected to impact most of the state tonight. I am urging New Yorkers to prepare for messy and potentially dangerous travel conditions," Governor Cuomo said. "We have learned from experience that it is better to be over-prepared in these situations - if you're not prepared before the storm, it is too late. That's why we have re-deployed assets from other parts of the state to the areas anticipating the highest snowfall, and our state agencies are ready to assist localities with whatever they need as this storm continues."
Precipitation will begin in the afternoon with a chance of snow showers throughout most of the state. Precipitation will move into the state as light rain downstate. By late afternoon, light snow will begin, changing to all snow by 6 p.m. this evening and continuing overnight into the early morning. Daytime snow accumulation will generally be less than one inch. The heaviest accumulation of snow will be in the New York City, and Mid-Hudson Regions, with snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches possible, and snow accumulation of 4 to 7 inches is possible on Long Island. Additionally, a Winter Storm Warning has been issued and goes into effect at 1:00 p.m. until March 4 at 7:00 a.m. for Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Westchester, Bronx, New York, Queens, Richmond, Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
Snow accumulations of 1 to 3 inches are possible in the Finger Lakes, North Country, Central New York, Mohawk Valley Regions, 2 to 4 inches of snow is expected in the Capital Region, and 3 to 5 inches is possible in the Southern Tier Region. Snow accumulation of less than once inch is possible for Western New York.
New Yorkers should continue to pay close attention to their local weather reports throughout the weekend. For a complete listing of weather watches, warnings, advisories and latest forecasts, visit the National Weather Service website.
Department of Transportation
The Department of Transportation is ready to respond with more than 3,900 operators and supervisors statewide. The Department currently has 1,599 large plow trucks, 186 medium duty plows, 51 tow plows, 324 large loaders and 39 snow blowers. Reserve trucks will be fully engaged in the Capital Region, Mid-Hudson region, Southern Tier and Long Island. Reserve truck usage in less-affected Regions will be evaluated throughout the event, and engaged as necessary.
In addition, to support snow and ice activities in critical areas, eight large plow trucks, 70 plow truck operators, 12 supervisors, one ICS support specialist and one mechanic will be deployed as follows:
- The Capital Region will be receiving four large plow trucks, eight plow operators, and two supervisors from the North Country.
- The Mid-Hudson Region will be receiving six plow operators and one supervisor from the Mohawk Valley, ten plow operators and two supervisors from Central NY, five plow operators and one supervisor from the Finger Lakes, seven plow operators and one supervisor from Western NY, four plow trucks and operators plus one supervisor from the Southern Tier, and one ICS support specialist from the Capital Region.
- Long Island will be receiving 10 plow operators and two supervisors from the Finger Lakes, and 20 plow operators and two supervisors from Western NY.
- Long Island will also be receiving a mechanic from the Southern Tier.
In addition, to help mitigate ice jams, 14 long reach excavators will be deployed to help clear ice buildup in identified areas. Heavy tow trucks will be staged on I-84 in Orange and Putnam Counties as well as the Meadowbrook State Parkway and I-495 on Long Island.
The Thruway Authority has 671 supervisors and operators ready to deploy 247 Large Snow Plows, 126 Medium Snow Plows, 11 Tow Plows and 57 Loaders across the state with more than 111,000 tons of road salt on hand. In addition, the Thruway Authority has redeployed 10 additional large snow plows and operators to the mid- and lower Hudson Valley where the storm is expected to have a greater impact. 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 download its mobile app which is available to download 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 by following this link:www.thruway.ny.gov/tas/index.shtml. For real-time updates, motorists can follow @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.
Snowplows travel at about 35 miles per hour — which in many cases is lower than the posted speed limit — in order to ensure that salt being dispersed stays in the driving lanes and does not scatter off the roadways. The safest place for motorists is well behind the snowplows where the roadway is clear and salted.
New York State Police
State Police are prepared to deploy additional Troopers as needed to affected areas. All State Police specialized vehicles including four-wheel drive vehicles, snowmobiles, and Utility Task Vehicles are staged and ready for immediate response.
Department of Environmental Conservation
Department of Environmental Conservation Police Officers, Forest Rangers, Emergency Management staff, and regional staff are on alert, monitoring the developing situation, and actively patrolling areas likely to be impacted by the storm. All available assets, including snowmobiles and utility vehicles, are ready to assist with any emergency response.
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 expedite outage restorations. Electric and gas utilities, as well as telecommunication service providers, such as Verizon, are prepared to bring on additional personnel to minimize service disruptions, if they occur.
New York's utilities have nearly 5,000 workers available for restoration efforts, including external line and tree crews brought on for this event, to be deployed in areas most impacted. The utilities are on alert and are closely watching as the storm develops and will deploy restoration crews where needed. Department staff will continue to monitor the utilities' efforts during the storm event.
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.
MTA agencies - NYC Transit, Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and MTA Bridges & Tunnels - are preparing for the heaviest snow in its service region between about 9 p.m. and 4 a.m.
Each MTA agency is monitoring weather conditions and preparing personnel and equipment to combat conditions as warranted, including having snow and ice-fighting equipment such as deicer trains at the ready. Some maintenance, repair and other construction projects may end early Sunday evening to accommodate storm preparations and response. Platforms, stairs and other station areas are being salted and sanded and will be refreshed as necessary, and switch heaters will be activated on subway and commuter rail tracks. Customers will be reminded to plan extra travel time and use caution when walking on platforms, walkways, and always use the hand rail when walking on stairs.
For NYC Transit and MTA buses, all 40-foot local buses will be chained for AM service and all 26 snow-fighting trucks will remain on duty until no longer needed.
For up-to-the-minute updates, customers should visit the MTA website at https://new.mta.info, use the MYmta smartphone app, and/or sign up for email and text message service alerts at http://www.mymtaalerts.com/.
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
The Port Authority has made extensive preparations for personnel and equipment at all its facilities, including airports. The main Emergency Operations Center in Jersey City, which oversees all Port Authority facilities and their respective EOCs, will be activated throughout the evening's storm and into tomorrow. The agency will continue to monitor conditions throughout the region with specific attention to potential icing and wind conditions. In anticipation that airlines may cancel flights at LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International Airports, all passengers are encouraged to check with their carriers and leave extra travel time.
Currently we have more than 500 pieces of snow equipment at our airports ready to deal with whatever happens in the coming days, including melters that can liquefy up to 500 tons of snow an hour and plows that can clear snow at 40 mph.
At the tunnels, bridges and bus terminals, the Port Authority urges bus travelers to check with their carriers before going to the Manhattan bus terminals since many public and private carriers may cancel or delay service if conditions warrant. All of the road surfaces on the agency's four bridges will be pre-treated two hours in advance of the first precipitation. The agency also may impose speed and other restrictions at its bridges and tunnels based on weather conditions. Currently, we have more than 90 pieces of snow equipment at the bridges and tunnels.
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 is important to drive at slower speeds when approaching patches of them.
- 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.
- If you have a cell phone or other communications device such as a 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.
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 m.p.h., 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.