February 15, 2021
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Directs State Agencies to Mobilize Emergency Response Assets as Major Winter Weather System Set to Impact State With Two Rounds of Snow, Sleet and Ice Through Tuesday Night

TOP Governor Cuomo Directs State Agencies to...

All Counties Under Winter Weather Advisory for Heavy Snow and Accumulating Ice

 

Many Locations Could Receive More than a Foot of Snow, While Other Areas Could See a Mixture of Sleet, Ice and Freezing Rain

 

Monday Night and Tuesday Driving Conditions Across the State Could Be Hazardous, Public Urged to Avoid Unnecessary Travel

WYSIWYG

Governor Cuomo today directed state agencies to mobilize emergency response assets as a major winter weather system will impact the state with two rounds of heavy snow, cold temperatures and ice. All counties in the state are under a National Weather Service-issued weather advisory or warning through Tuesday as many locations are forecast to receive more than a foot of snow, while some areas could be impacted by a mixture of sleet and ice up to 3/10 of an inch. Travel conditions could become extremely difficult at times, especially late Monday evening through Tuesday morning, when heavier snow could combine with gusty winds and cause blowing and drifting snow. 

"This massive weather system is making its way across the country and ready to deliver a one-two punch of snow, ice and heavy winds across the entire state for the next two days," Governor Cuomo said. "Travel conditions could become extremely dangerous, and I've directed our emergency response personnel to get out ahead of this storm and help our local partners. New Yorkers should pay close attention to local weather forecasts and avoid all unnecessary travel."

For Western and Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, the North Country, Capital Region, the Southern Tier, snow is forecast to occur in multiple rounds with most locations seeing either light snow or a mixture of sleet and snow during the day Monday with a switch to heavier snow late Monday evening into Tuesday morning. Snow accumulations through Tuesday are expected to range from 6 to 14 inches in varying locations.  

For the North Country, moderate heavy snow is possible Monday night through Tuesday morning with snow accumulations exceeding 12 inches in some places. Travel could be very difficult to impossible due to areas of blowing snow along the south shores of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. 

Downstate areas and Long Island could see a mixture of snow, sleet and/or freezing ice, with accumulations up to a 1/10 of an inch Monday. The freezing rain is expected to turn into regular rain as temperatures climb on Tuesday.

Weather forecasters are tracking another widespread precipitation event for Thursday and Friday that could bring even more snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain to the state. 

Multiple weather warnings, watches, and advisories have been issued for several parts of the state. For a complete listing of weather watches and warnings in your area, visit your area's National Weather Service website

Agency Preparations 

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services' Emergency Operations Center remains activated due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will closely monitor weather conditions, coordinate state response operations and remain in contact with localities throughout the duration of the event. State stockpiles are prepared to deploy assets to localities to support any storm-related needs, including pumps, chainsaws, sandbags, generators, cots, blankets and bottled water. 

Department of Transportation

The State Department of Transportation has 3,656 supervisors and operators available statewide, prepared to respond.  All affected residency locations will be staffed for 24/7 operation throughout the duration of priority response operations. Mechanic support will be available 24/7 to keep response equipment operational.  Crews are currently engaged in tree debris response preparations as well as snow and ice response preparations.  Tree debris response tools, including generators, chainsaws, hand tools and chippers are being readied and loaded into response trucks for immediate dispatch.

Statewide equipment numbers are as follows: 

  • 1,612 large dump trucks (plow trucks)
  • 175 medium duty trucks w/plow
  • 37 snowblowers
  • 49 loaders with grapple
  • 36 tractor trailers with lowboy trailer
  • 14 tree crew bucket trucks
  • 36 traffic signal trucks
  • 80 chippers 10" (min) capacity 

Thruway Authority

The Thruway Authority has 691 operators and supervisors ready to respond with 248 large snowplows, 102 medium snowplows, 11 tow plows and 61 loaders across the state with more than 109,000 tons of road salt on hand. 

Variable Message Signs 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 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.

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. 

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. Park visitors should check parks.ny.gov or call their local park offices for the latest updates regarding park hours, openings and closings. 

Department of Public Service

New York's utilities have approximately 5,700 workers available to engage in damage assessment, response and restoration efforts across New York State. Department of Public Service staff will track the utilities' work throughout the storm event and will ensure utilities shift the appropriate staffing to the regions anticipated to be impacted the most.

New York Power Authority / Canal Corporation

The New York Power Authority and the Canal Corporation staff has performed preparations for the forecasted weather to ensure all facilities, assets and equipment are secured and ready. The Power Authority is prepared to support power restoration activities if needed.

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. All Troop emergency power and communications equipment has been tested.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Metropolitan Transportation Authority is closely monitoring weather conditions to ensure safe, reliable service. MTA employees will be poised to spread salt and clear platforms and stairs of snow and ice, keep signals, switches, and third rail operating Customers are encouraged to check new.mta.info for the latest service updates, and to use caution while navigating the system. Customers should also sign up for real-time service alerts via text or email. These alerts are also available via the MTA's apps: MYmta, Metro-North Train Time and Long Island Rail Road Train Time.

Port Authority

The Port Authority urges travelers at its facilities to use caution during the storm. Speed restrictions may be in effect at the bridges as well as along roadways to and from the crossings. Passengers through the Port Authority's airports, bus terminal and bus station are encouraged to reach out to carriers and airlines directly for the latest information on delays and cancelations. For the latest information about Port Authority facilities, please check social media, sign up for PA alerts or download one of the PA mobile apps.

Safety Tips

Winter Safety

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.
  • 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 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.

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