Up to 12 Inches of Snow and Wind Gusts up to 45 MPH Expected to Impact Downstate Locations; Coastal Flood Watch Issued for Long Island and Queens Through Monday
Potential Impacts Include Dangerous Travel, Power Outages, Flooding of Low-Lying Areas Along Coast
Governor Cuomo today directed state agencies to prepare emergency response assets as a potentially powerful winter storm is forecast to impact downstate areas with heavy snow and coastal flooding Sunday and Monday. The system could deliver up to 12 inches of snow to New York City, Long Island, and the Lower Hudson Valley along with 45 mph winds gusts. Coastal flooding is also possible in parts of Long Island and Queens starting Sunday evening and continuing through Monday. Based on the current forecast, the storm may create dangerous travel conditions and potential power outages due to the combination of heavy snow and gusty winds, as well as flooding of low-lying areas in coastal locations. New Yorkers are being urged to closely monitor local weather reports and use extreme caution if traveling.
"Another storm system is set to impact New York with potentially heavy snow, strong winds and possibly coastal flooding downstate," Governor Cuomo said. "I have directed state agencies to prepare all emergency response assets and they stand ready to assist any of our local partners who may need help in the coming days. We will also be closely watching the response of utility companies to ensure any power outages are addressed immediately. In the meantime, I am urging all New Yorkers to pay close attention to their local forecasts and to begin preparing their households for this latest round of winter weather."
Snow is expected to begin late Sunday and continue through Monday evening, with winds up to 25 mph and gusts up to 45 mph expected. Some locations in New York City and Long Island and areas along the lower Hudson could see up to 12 inches of snow by Monday morning. Coastal areas of Long Island and Queens may see flooding, especially during high tide Monday and in vulnerable, low-lying locations.
For a complete listing of weather watches and warnings in your area, visit your area's National Weather Service website.
Department of Transportation
The State Department of Transportation is prepared to respond with the following assets:
- 1,625 snowplows
- 316 large loaders
- 175 medium duty plows
- 52 tow plows
- 38 snowblowers
- 19 graders
- 11 pickup trucks with plows
In addition, the Department of Transportation is deploying 150 snow plow operators and other equipment from other regions to the Mid-Hudson, Southern Tier and Long Island regions to assist with snow removal operations.
Deployments are as follows:
- The Mid-Hudson region is receiving 86 operators, 10 snow plows and two snowblowers
- The Southern Tier is receiving 10 operators and two snowblowers.
- Long Island is receiving 54 operators, 10 snow plows, two snowblowers, two equipment operator instructors, two mechanics and one safety officer.
The Thruway Authority has 694 operators and supervisors ready to respond with 249 large snow plows, 100 medium snow plows, 11 tow plows and 61 loaders across the state with more than 119,000 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 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. 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.
Department of Public Service
New York's utilities have approximately 5,500 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 the utilities shift the appropriate staffing to the regions anticipated to experience the greatest impact.
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 also 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 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 personnel are hard at work to ensure safe, reliable service continues throughout the storm and aftermath. MTA employees will be poised to spread salt and clear platforms and stairs of snow and ice, keep signals, switches, third rail operating, remove any downed trees that may fall across tracks, and attend to any weather-related challenges during the storm.
MTA Bridges and Tunnels is proactively implementing an empty and tandem tractor trailer ban at 6 a.m. Monday. Buses will operate reduced service based on anticipated lower ridership. All local buses will also be fitted with tire chains. Articulated buses will be replaced by shorter buses starting Sunday night.
Customers are encouraged avoid unnecessary travel, check new.mta.info for the latest service updates, and to use extreme caution while navigating the system, especially on outdoor platforms and stairs. 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.
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 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.
- Know the county in which you live and the names of nearby cities. Severe weather warnings are issued on a county basis.
- Learn the safest route from your home or business to high, safe ground should you have to leave in a hurry.
- Develop and practice a 'family escape' plan and identify a meeting place if family members become separated.
- Make an itemized list of all valuables including furnishings, clothing and other personal property. Keep the list in a safe place.
- Stockpile emergency supplies of canned food, medicine and first aid supplies and drinking water. Store drinking water in clean, closed containers
- Plan what to do with your pets.
- Have a portable radio, flashlights, extra batteries and emergency cooking equipment available.
- Keep your automobile fueled. If electric power is cut off, gasoline stations may not be able to pump fuel for several days. Have a small disaster supply kit in the trunk of your car.
- Find out how many feet your property is above and below possible flood levels. When predicted flood levels are broadcast, you can determine if you may be flooded.
- Keep materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber handy for emergency waterproofing
- Have disaster supplies on hand, including:
- Flashlight and extra batteries;
- Battery-operated radio and extra batteries;
- First aid kit and manual;
- Emergency food and water;
- Non-electric can opener;
- Essential medicines; and
- Checkbook, cash, credit cards, and ATM cards.
For more safety tips for all types of weather events, visit the DHSES website at www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/safety-info/index.cfm.