December 10, 2019
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Directs Storm Response Assets to Prepare for Hazardous Wednesday Morning Commute

TOP Governor Cuomo Directs Storm Response Assets to...

Storm Will Continue Overnight Into Wednesday Morning

 

Up to Two Inches of Snow Will Create Hazardous Conditions During The Morning Commute

WYSIWYG

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed state storm response assets to prepare for a potentially hazardous Wednesday morning commute throughout downstate New York as temperatures plummet overnight and a storm moves in. The National Weather Service is currently forecasting the region to receive up to two inches of snow during the overnight hours into Wednesday morning. A Winter Weather Advisory has also been issued warning of the possibility of slippery road conditions and reduced visibility throughout New York City, Long Island and Westchester County as the system moves across the region. New Yorkers are being 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 difficult conditions on our roadways that will impact the morning commute across much of the New York City Metro area," Governor Cuomo said. "I am advising New Yorkers to leave home early for work if they can, slow down and use extra caution while traveling."

On Tuesday, the National Weather Service is forecasting temperatures in the 50s, cloudy skies and the chance of rain throughout the Mid-Hudson, New York City and Long Island regions. Generally, less than one tenth of an inch of precipitation is expected. As temperatures are expected drop more than 25 degrees, the rain will transition to snow during the overnight hours, which could lead to a difficult Wednesday morning commute. By the time the show ends Wednesday morning, the system is expected to have dropped up to two inches of snow across downstate.

Elsewhere, areas traditionally impacted by Lake Effect snow in the Western New York, Finger Lakes, Central New York and North Country regions are forecasted to see between three to five inches of snow. The National Weather Service has also issued Winter Weather Advisories for these areas. For more information, visit the National Weather Service website.

Agency Preparations

Department of Transportation

The State Department of Transportation is prepared to respond with 3,578 supervisors and operators on hand.  Statewide resources are as follows:

  • 1582 large plow trucks
  • 186 medium duty plows
  • 52 tow plows
  • 330 large loaders
  • 37 snowblowers

Thruway Authority

The Thruway Authority has 686 supervisors and operators ready to deploy 226 Large Snow Plows, 103 Medium Snow Plows, 11 Tow Plows and 63 Loaders across the state with more than 115,000 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 Troopers to closely monitor conditions in the affected areas. 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. 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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