December 28, 2019
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Directs Storm Response Assets to Prepare for Hazardous Driving Conditions Sunday and Monday

TOP Governor Cuomo Directs Storm Response Assets to...

New Yorkers Should Expect Freezing Rain and Icy Conditions in Many Parts of the State

 

Deploys Equipment and Personnel from DHSES, DOT, Thruway Authority, State Police to Assist in Emergency Preparations

WYSIWYG

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed state agencies to pre-deploy winter storm response assets in preparation for potentially hazardous driving conditions Sunday and Monday throughout the mid-Hudson Valley, Capital Region, North Country and Mohawk Valley. The National Weather Service is forecasting freezing rain with current estimates calling for up to half an inch of ice possible in these areas. New Yorkers are urged to use caution and keep a close eye on updated weather forecasts and obey all local emergency orders.

 

"This storm has the potential to bring dangerous icy conditions to roadways throughout much of the state tomorrow and Monday," Governor Cuomo said. "We are deploying agency equipment and personnel in advance of the storm to assist in emergency preparations and help ensure a quick response, and I am urging everyone to use extra caution while driving Sunday afternoon into Monday morning." 

 

The National Weather Service is forecasting temperatures ranging from the high 20s to the mid-40s, with wintry mixes possible the Capital, North Country, Central New York, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley Regions. Precipitation amounts will generally be between a quarter and three-quarters of an inch. New snow and sleet accumulation of up to half an inch. Winds will generally be southeast at 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph in the North Country and Mohawk Valley Regions. For more information, visit the National Weather Service website.

 

Agency Preparations

 

Department of Transportation

The State Department of Transportation has 3,671 supervisors and operators available statewide to respond to this snow and ice event.  To support snow and ice activities in critical areas, the Mohawk Valley will be receiving four reserve plow trucks from Central New York.  In addition, ten reserve plow trucks in the lower Hudson Valley will be activated and shifted to Ulster and Columbia Counties, seven reserve plow trucks in the Capital Region will be activated and shifted to the higher elevations, and six reserve trucks within the Mohawk Valley will be activated.  The need for additional resources, including operators, plow trucks and mechanics, will be re-evaluated as conditions warrant throughout the event.   All Residency locations will be staffed for 24/7 operations throughout the duration of the event.  In addition, fleet mechanics in affectedareas will be staffing all main Residency locations 24/7 to perform repairs and keep trucks on the road.  

 

Grapples will be installed on loaders stationed in areas of potential icing that are not engaged in salt loading operations.  Chippers will be hitched to medium duty response vehicles.  DOT will have all Traffic Signal Crews statewide ready to deploy if there are areas with a high number of signal outages.


All available snow and ice equipment and tree/debris equipment is ready to deploy.  Statewide equipment numbers are as follows: 

      • 1596 Large Plow Trucks 
      • 181 Medium Duty Plows 
      • 52 Tow Plows 
      • 326 Large Loaders 
      • 75 Chippers 
      • 37 Traffic Signal Trucks 
      • 15 Tree Crew Bucket Trucks

 

Thruway Authority

The Thruway Authority has 691 operators and supervisors ready to deploy 241 Large Snow Plows, 108 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 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.

 

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.

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