March 31, 2021
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Directs State Agencies to Prepare Emergency Response Assets as Winter Storm System Will Impact Upstate New York

Governor Cuomo Directs State Agencies to Prepare Emergency Response Assets as Winter Storm System Will Impact Upstate New York

Starting Late Tonight, North Country, Mohawk Valley and Central New York Regions Could See Up to a Foot of Wet, Heavy Snow

Some Areas Could See a Mix of Rain and Snow

Storm Could Cause Dangerous Travel Conditions and Power Outages

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed state agencies to prepare emergency response assets as a winter weather system is set to impact Upstate areas on Thursday with heavy, wet snow and create dangerous travel conditions and power outages. Weather forecasters are predicting up to a foot of snow in parts of the North Country, Mohawk Valley and Central New York regions starting late this evening and continuing through Thursday evening. Other areas, including the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier regions, snowfall totals could reach up to six inches by Thursday afternoon, while locations in the Capital and Hudson Valley regions could see a mixture of snow and rain, with lighter snowfall totals.

"While we have seen warmer weather recently, it's clear winter isn't done with us yet as another snowstorm is set to impact much of New York," Governor Cuomo said. "New Yorkers can rest assured that state agencies are fully ready to support local partners with any resources they may need and we will monitor the response of utility companies to ensure power outages are addressed quickly. As the storm approaches, New Yorkers should remember to take the steps necessary for preparing their households, and be especially careful when traveling or attempting to shovel."

Starting late tonight and continuing through Thursday morning, snow is forecast to blanket most of Upstate areas. Several hours of snowfall rates up to one inch per hour at time are likely during the overnight and early morning hours Thursday. Snow will be wet and heavy, which could lead to scattered power outages and will be difficult to shovel. Temperatures will be in the 30 to 40 degree range with winds 10 to 20 mph, with gusts reaching up to 30 mph at times. Tomorrow night, snow is expected to continue across the Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Southern Tier, and Western New York regions. There is a chance of rain and light snow showers in the Capital, Hudson Valley and Long Island regions.

On Friday, partly sunny skies are forecast with a chance of snow showers in the Capital, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, North Country, and Southern Tier regions, and a chance of rain and snow showers in the Finger Lakes and Western New York regions. Temperatures will range between 30s and 40s, and winds will be 10 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph possible in the Mohawk Valley and Southern Tier regions. By Friday night, there is a chance of lingering snow showers in the Central New York, Mohawk Valley and Southern Tier regions. Temperatures will hover around 30, and winds will top 10 mph with little snow accumulation expected.

Winter Storm Warnings are in effect for locations in the Mohawk Valley, Central New York and North Country regions through Friday morning, and multiple winter weather advisories are posted for several upstate locations. For a complete listing of weather advisories in your area, visit the National Weather Service weather alerts 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 is prepared to respond with more than 3,630 supervisors and operators available statewide. Staff can be configured into any type of response crew that is needed and all residency locations will remain staffed for 24/7 operation throughout the duration of the event and priority cleanup operations. All available snow and ice equipment is ready to deploy. Statewide equipment numbers are as follows:

  • 1,595 large plow trucks
  • 165 medium duty plows
  • 52 tow plows
  • 16 large loaders
  • 37 snow blowers

For up-to-date travel information, call 511, visit or download the free 511NY mobile app.

Thruway Authority

The Thruway Authority has 678 operators and supervisors ready to respond with 245 large snow plows, 110 medium snow plows, 11 tow plows, and 63 loaders across the State, and with more than 118,000 tons of road salt on hand.

Variable Message Signs and social media are utilized to alert motorists of 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.

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 or call their local park office for the latest updates regarding park hours, openings, and closings.

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.

Department of Public Service

New York's utilities have approximately 5,500 workers available to engage in damage assessment, response, and restoration efforts across the 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.

Winter Safety Tips

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.

For more safety tips, visit the DHSES website here.


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