Governor Urges Motorists to Avoid Unnecessary Travel and Allow Workers to Clear Roads and Keep New Yorkers Safe
State Emergency Operations Center in Enhanced Monitoring Mode; Personnel and Equipment Strategically Pre-Deployed Across the State
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today issued an update on state actions in response to the winter storm that is currently impacting New York, including the deployment of emergency personnel, resources and equipment to strategic staging areas across the state. The State Emergency Operations Center in Albany is activated with Office of Emergency Management personnel and is in close communication with the National Weather Service as the storm continues to cause dangerous travel conditions as a result of the heavy, accumulating snow. Additionally, this morning, the Governor visited the Albany NYSDOT garage in Latham as workers prepared for deployment to clear the roads and keep motorists safe.
"New York's plow operators and crews, first responders, and emergency personnel work around the clock in dangerous conditions to keep New Yorkers safe and they have our tremendous respect," Governor Cuomo said. "As the storm continues and our response efforts are underway, I urge New Yorkers to follow local weather reports and avoid unnecessary travel."
Most of the state is under a Winter Weather Warning, with a few Winter Weather Advisories also in effect. Snow started this morning and will continue throughout the day. New York City, Long Island and the Mid-Hudson Region have been experiencing a mixture of sleet and freezing rain. Snowfall totals will range from 4 to 10 inches for most of the state, with some areas in the Mohawk Valley, North Country, Southern Tier, Central New York, Finger Lakes and Western New York possibly experiencing up to 12 inches. Heavy snowfall is expected at times this afternoon with snowfall rates greater than an inch an hour possible as the system moves quickly across the state. Poor visibility and hazardous travel conditions can be expected and there is a potential for heavy snowfall during the evening rush hour.
For a complete list of Weather Warnings for your area, visit the National Weather Service website.
State Plows and Snow Removal Equipment Deployed Statewide
The Department of Transportation has activated a number of resources to ensure roadways are cleared statewide including 1,569 large plow/dump trucks, 190 medium plow/dump trucks, 326 loaders, 37 truck/loader mounted snow blowers, 52 tow plows, 17 graders and 14 pickup trucks with plows working the storm. The Department of Transportation also has more than 383,995 tons of road salt on hand. The Thruway Authority actively deployed resources include 672 supervisors and operators 248 Large Snow Plows, 113 Medium Snow Plows, 11 Tow Plows and 53 Loaders across the state with more than 111,000 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 and state roads.
State Agency Assets
At the direction of the Governor, personnel including State officials with the Executive Chamber, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Department of Transportation, Thruway Authority, and State Police, are actively monitoring weather conditions statewide. Assets and equipment have been prepared for deployment including:
- 2 High Axle Vehicles
- 3 Light Military Tactical Vehicles
- 6 Tracked Utility Vehicles
- 723 generators
- 264 light towers
- 409,536 bottles/cans of water
- 46,710 ready-to-eat meals
- 1,265 pumps
- 4,348 flashlights
- 9,650 cots
- 12,420 blankets
- 13,613 pillows
NY-Alert is the state's free, subscription based, customizable, all-hazards alerting system. Alerts, such as important information regarding severe weather, can be emailed and also pushed to your cell phone via text message. To subscribe, visit the NY-Alert website at: www.nyalert.gov. For more information on NY-Alert, visit the FAQ page at: www.nyalert.gov/faq.
The Governor offered the following safety tips:
Have a plan for you and your family
- Discuss with family members what they should do in the event of an emergency or disaster, such as a severe winter storm
- Learn about local community's sheltering plans, including the location of official shelters
Have Emergency Supplies on Hand
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- Battery-powered portable radio or NOAA Weather Radio to receive emergency information.
- Seven to ten days' supply of food. High-energy food, such as dried fruit or candy, and food requiring no cooking or refrigeration is best. Also stock an emergency supply of bottled water. The recommended amount is one gallon per person per day for 7 to 10 days.
- A one-week supply of essential medicines and baby items.
- First aid kit and supplies.
- Extra blankets and sleeping bags.
- Fire extinguisher and smoke detector - test regularly to ensure they are working properly.
Safety Tips Before You Hit the Road
When winter storms strike, do not drive unless necessary. 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.
- Keep your gas tank full to prevent gasoline freeze-up
- Make sure someone knows your travel plans
- Before getting behind the wheel or your car, clear it of ice and snow. Good vision is a key to good driving
- 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
The leading cause of death and injuries during winter storms is transportation accidents.
- Plan your stops and keep more distance between cars. Be extra alert.
- Remember, snowdrifts can hide smaller children. Always match your speed to the road and weather conditions.
Trapped in a Car
What would you do if a snow storm or blizzard trapped you on the road? Here are some tips to follow:
- Stay in your car and wait for help to find you
- Run your engine for short periods of time to stay warm. Keep your down-wind window open and make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of snow
- Turn on the dome light at night when you are running the engine to signal rescuers
- Hang a brightly colored piece of cloth or piece of clothing from your car
- Exercise from time to time by vigorously moving arms, legs, fingers and toes to keep blood circulating and to keep warm
For more safety information, visit the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services website at: http://www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/safety-info/winter/.