March 8, 2018
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Issues Update on Winter Storm

TOP Governor Cuomo Issues Update on Winter Storm

Over 154,000 Customers Without Power With the Majority of Outages Centered in the Hudson Valley and on Long Island

400 National Guard Troops Deployed to Conduct Wellness Checks and Assist Communities with Storm Recovery

All Tractor Trailer Restrictions to be Lifted at 11 p.m.; Travel Advisory for Motorists Remains in Place

WYSIWYG

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo tonight issued an update on the winter storm that continues to impact the eastern portion of the state. With the storm beginning to move east of New York, the tractor trailer bans that were placed on several highways will be lifted, effective 11 p.m. Currently, over 154,000 utility customers are without power statewide as a result of the storm and travel conditions continue to be difficult. Earlier today, Governor Cuomo also doubled National Guard's deployment of troops to 400 to assist wellness checks on residents and other response and recovery efforts. 

"As this storm has impacted communities across New York, power outages have begun to climb higher once again," Governor Cuomo said. "I have doubled the number of National Guard troops that are deployed in the region, and we working around the clock to keep roads clear and residents safe. I encourage New Yorkers to stay at home or seek shelter if experiencing a loss of power."  

The storm shifted slightly east and winter storm warnings and watches are in effect for the eastern half of the state. In the North Country, moderate to heavy snow is expected tonight with an additional 2 to 4 inches of accumulating snow expected through Thursday evening. In the Capital Region, snow accumulation between 4 to 8 inches are possible for the entire forecast area. Additional snow accumulations of 8 to 15 inches are possible in the Taconics and Washington County. In the Mid-Hudson Valley Region, heavy snow is falling, and total snow accumulations between 9 to 15 inches are possible, and 12 to 20 inches are possible in higher elevations.  

In the New York City Region, Winter Storm Warnings remain in effect for Kings, Bronx, Richmond and Queens counties. There is a Coastal Flood Advisory in effect for Bronx and Queens counties. Snow accumulation between 6 to 10 inches are possible. Snowfall rates of 1 to 3 inches per hour expected into the evening. In Long Island, a Winter Storm Warning and a Coastal Flood Advisory remain in effect for Suffolk and Nassau counties. A Wind Advisory is also in effect for Suffolk County. Additional snow accumulation between 2 to 6 inches possible.  

Travel Restrictions

On Tuesday, Governor Cuomo issued a Travel Advisory for all areas east of I-81 and motorists are strongly encouraged to avoid travel unless absolutely necessary. However, the bans on tractor trailers that were placed on several highways throughout the state will be lifted, effective 11 p.m.

Public Service Commission

Currently, there are over 154,808 customers without power as the storm significantly increased power outages over the past several hoursNew York's utilities have a total of 4,910 in-house workers and contractors in New York working on restoration efforts. This includes 1,300 out-of-state line and tree workers from Connecticut, Maine, Michigan, Texas, Ohio, Missouri, North Carolina, Louisiana, Vermont, Iowa, Wisconsin and Canada that will be dedicated to restoration efforts in the hardest hit areas in Hudson Valley and Long Island. 

The Department of Public Service has extended Call Center Helpline hours starting at 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m., as needed, to assist consumers in their storm restoration efforts. The Department of Public Service Call Center Helpline can be reached by calling 1-800-342-3377.

Public Service Commission staff will continue to monitor the utilities' efforts during the restoration period. 

Yesterday, Governor Cuomo directed the New York State Department of Public Service to conduct a full review into power failures after last week's winter storm. Given the prolonged nature of the outages and clear breakdowns in communication between utilities and customers, the Department of Public Service will review the utility preparations and response to these storms.

Below is a breakdown of outages by county: 

Outages by County:

Data is provided for counties with 100 or more outages.

 

 

 

 

Albany

111

 

Bronx

596

 

Columbia

387

 

Dutchess

8,828

 

Greene

552

 

Kings

412

 

Nassau

16,212

 

Orange

9,673

 

Putnam

10,090

 

Queens

3,134

 

Rensselaer

254

 

Richmond

1,690

 

Rockland

16,998

 

Suffolk

21,826

 

Sullivan

3,110

 

Ulster

18,200

 

Westchester

42,578

 

 

State Agency Preparations

All New Yorkers can obtain emergency information through NY-ALERT, the state's free, all-hazards, web-based alert and notification system. To subscribe, visit nyalert.gov. If you do not own or have access to a computer, call toll-free 1-888-697-6972.

At the direction of Governor Cuomo, states of emergency have been declared in Dutchess, Putnam, Sullivan and Westchester counties and state personnel have been on the ground for days coordinating with, and providing recovery support and resources to, local governments.  

The Governor has also activated a toll-free hotline for New Yorkers to call to get updates on weather, power outage restoration times, and shelters and warming centers in their area. New Yorkers are urged to call 866-697-2434 for assistance.

The State Emergency Operations Center will remain activated through Friday, March 9 at 6 p.m. with transportation agencies and the Emergency Service Mass Care Team led by the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Individual Assistance Recovery Staff and comprised of the State Department of Health, American Red Cross and the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to assist with sheltering.

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

At the Governor's direction, Commissioner Roger Parrino is actively deployed to the Mid-Hudson Valley Region to assess storm and power restoration efforts. Additionally, the State Emergency Operations Center is activated for assist with the State's Transportation agencies and the Emergency Service Mass Care Team led by the Division's Individual Assistance Recovery Staff and comprised of the State Department of Health, American Red Cross and the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to assist with sheltering. The EOC will be activated for this upcoming storm through Friday at 6 p.m.  

Yesterday, the Division's Office of Fire Prevention and Control proactively inspected over 55 shelters in six counties in the Mid-Hudson Region by 20 personnel with expertise in building and fire codes to ensure they are ready to accommodate an influx of citizens due to power outages.

Additionally, OFPC currently has a snow and water emergency team staged at the Long Island Welcome Center and a snow emergency team with tracked and high axle vehicles to the Mid-Hudson Valley Region for the duration of the storm.

Earlier today, the Office of Fire Prevention and Control is distributing 1,000 traffic cones, 1,000 rolls caution tape, and over 1,000 road flares to counties in the Mid-Hudson Valley Region that are still without power from downed trees and wires. These supplies will help these communities with traffic control.

Currently, 27 generators have been deployed to support municipalities in Westchester and Putnam counties to assist in areas that have been without power since the height of the storm. Generators and other equipment have been redeployed where the storm will be the strongest. State stockpiles are prepared with over 700 generators, over 250 light towers, approximately 1,250 pumps, over 900,000 sandbags, over 63,800 ready to eat meals, over 340,000 cans of water, over 4,000 flashlights, thousands of cots, blankets, and pillows, almost 1,000 traffic barriers, and over 7,000 feet of Aqua Dam temporary flood barrier. Additionally, the Division is prepared with high axle vehicles, utility tracked vehicles, and a tracked sport utility vehicle.

New York National Guard

At the direction of the Governor, the New York National Guard will deploy an additional 200 service members to assist communities, effectively doubling the deployment to 400 members. Today, 200 troops were on duty performing missions in Sullivan, Putnam and Westchester Counties and on call at Stewart Air National Guard Base and Camp Smith Training Site near Peekskill. On Thursday, additional troops will stage from Stewart Air National Guard Base.

As part of these deployments, nine teams comprised of four soldiers and two vehicles each, have been pre-positioned at locations throughout Dutchess, Putnam, Westchester, Orange, and Sullivan counties to provide support to communities as needed. This includes wellness checks, shelter assistance, and any other needs identified by local law enforcement or emergency management personnel throughout the duration of the storm.

Other troops from the New York Naval Militia and New York Guard are conducting logistics and garrison support.

Department of Transportation

Acting Commissioner Paul Karas and Assistant Commissioner Sean Hennessey are deployed to Sullivan County to oversee the state response in the region, while Chief of Staff Todd Westhuis is deployed to the Hudson Valley Transportation Management Center in Westchester County.  Additionally, Assistant Commissioner Pat Meredith is deployed to Orange County and Assistant Commissioner Thomas McIntyre is on site in Dutchess County.

The State Department of Transportation continues to respond with 3,865 operators and supervisors, 1,558 large plow/dump trucks, 20 graders, 323 large loaders, 195 medium plow/dump trucks, 14 pickup trucks with plows, 51 tow plows, 19 mounted snowblower/loaders, and 22 mounted snowblower trucks.

The Department has deployed 125 operators and 49 trucks, along with four traffic signal crews, eight technicians and four fleet mechanics to various parts of the Hudson Valley. The Department has also deployed 20 extra operators to Long Island and DOT's Long Island Region has also activated 30 contractor large dump trucks and 15 pickups with plows in anticipation of the coming storm. 

Motorists are reminded to check 511NY by calling 511 or by accessing www.511ny.org before traveling. The free service allows users to check road conditions and transit information. Mobile users can download the updated, free 511NY mobile app from the iTunes or Google Play stores. The app now features Drive mode, which provides audible alerts along a chosen route while a user is driving, warning them about incidents and construction. Users can set a destination prior to departing and receive information on up to three routes.

New York State Thruway Authority

The Thruway Authority has 679 supervisors and operators ready to deploy 247 Large Snow Plows, 113 Medium Snow Plows, 11 Tow Plows and 54 Loaders across the state with more than 112,000 tons of road salt on hand. It has moved additional resources to the Thruway's New York Division in the Lower Mid-Hudson Valley, including 12 heavy duty plow trucks and 24 plow operators. 

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 to download 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 by following this link: www.thruway.ny.gov/tas/index.shtml.

New York State Police

The New York State Police have added extra patrols in affected areas for the duration of the storm. All 4x4 vehicles are in service, and snowmobiles and Utility Terrain Vehicles are staged and ready for deployment as needed.  State Troopers continue to assist in areas affected by power outages from last Friday's storm in Westchester, Putnam and Sullivan Counties. 

New York City Transit

New York City Transit is operating with close to normal service.  Equipment and personnel were deployed in advance of the snowfall and have remained in the field throughout the storm. Regularly planned service is expected to resume Thursday morning. 

FASTRACK work on the 4 and 6 lines was canceled and is expected to resume Thursday evening. Some express train service ended early tonight and is running local so that trains can be stored on underground express tracks. That service is also expected to resume by morning. Articulated buses were removed from service during the storm and will return to normal service on Thursday as road conditions allow. Buses may experience delays or detours depending upon weather-related obstacles or congestion on the roads. 

For the latest service updates, visit www.mta.info, follow NYC Transit on Twitter at @NYCTSubway and @NYCTBus, or sign up for email and text-message updates at www.myMTAalerts.com.

MTA Metro-North Railroad 

Metro-North service is suspended on the Harlem Line, Hudson Line and New Haven Line as a result of trees fallen across the tracks and into overhead wires, and other weather-related infrastructure issues.

Metro-North is working overnight to assess and repair power infrastructure, signals and switches, and position trains and crews for morning service. The railroad expects to operate on a reduced schedule tomorrow. Customers should check for service updates before leaving tomorrow morning at MTA.info/mnr, the Metro-North Train Time app and the railroad's service alerts sent via email and text message. Those who aren't signed up for service alerts yet should visit MyMTAAlerts.com and sign up.

MTA Long Island Rail Road

The LIRR is addressing fallen trees and weather-related signal problems this evening, and continues to work with PSEGLI as they repair fallen wires. On the Babylon Branch, limited diesel train service is substituting for electric service for four hours overnight while PSEGLI crews repair wires that have fallen on the tracks in Freeport.

The railroad anticipates operating on a normal weekday schedule tomorrow. Customers should check for service updates before leaving tomorrow morning at MTA.info/lirr, the LIRR Train Time app and the railroad's service alerts sent via email and text message. Those who aren't signed up for service alerts yet should visit MyMTAAlerts.com and sign up. 

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey 

Today's Nor'easter winter storm forced airlines to cancel a significant number of flights at JFK and LaGuardia airports, and the Port Authority strongly urges travelers to contact their airlines before going to the airport the remainder of the evening and tomorrow. 

As of 10 p.m., John F. Kennedy International Airport reported 532 cancellations today, or 45 percent of JFK's scheduled flights. From 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., a total of 118 flights are scheduled.   

As of 10 p.m. at LaGuardia, there were 708 cancellations today, representing 62 percent of scheduled flight operations. 

If warranted, the Port Authority also is prepared to partner with airlines and terminal operators to accommodate ticketed passengers who may become stranded at the airports.  Each airport is stocked with critical supplies such as cots, blankets, diapers and baby formula to provide for stranded customers. 

The Port Authority Bus Terminal closed at 7 pm tonight due to weather and bus cancellations and will reopen at 4 a.m. Thursday. The George Washington Bridge Bus Station closed as of 6:00 PM due to the storm. It will reopen tomorrow (Thursday, 3/8) for the morning commute. 

The Outerbridge Crossing has reopened in both directions after an earlier closure due to falling ice.

Customers can access up-to-date information on conditions at Port Authority facilities on the Port Authority's website, which includes live feeds of its respective social media channels. In addition to the website, travelers also are encouraged to sign up for Port Authority alerts at http://www.paalerts.com/

New York State Parks Recreation & Historic Preservation

New York State Parks has alerted park police and park personnel to closely monitor weather updates. New York State Parks has more than 1100 emergency equipment resources on hand across the state. This includes light/medium duty plows, snowmobiles, 4x4 vehicles, ATV's and portable generators. Park patrons should monitor www.nysparks.com or call their local park office for the latest updates regarding park hours, openings and closings.

Department of Environmental Conservation

DEC is mobilizing Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs), Forest Rangers, Emergency Management staff, Operations and regional staff, and sawyers and chainsaw operators to assist with tree damage and power outages across the state and to provide security around damaged areas where lines are down and work is underway. DEC will also be working with County Emergency Managers to manage storm debris. All available assets, including tree removal equipment, snowmobiles, boats, and utility vehicles, are ready to assist with any emergency response. DEC staff are on alert and monitoring the developing situation and actively patrolling areas impacted by the storm.

Department of Agriculture and Markets

With heavy, wet snow falling, the Department of Agriculture and Markets reminds farmers about the importance of monitoring the weight load on structures, especially barns and other agricultural buildings. Cornell Cooperative Extension and PRO-DAIRY have tips for safely removing snow here and here.

Prepare for Power Outages  

Governor Cuomo urges residents to stay away from any lines that are down as they may be live, and should be considered extremely dangerous.  

Motorists are reminded that State Law mandates that if an intersection is "blacked out" and the traffic signal is not operational, the intersection is automatically a "four way" stop. In the event of closed or blocked roadways due to flooding, downed power lines or debris, motorists are advised to exercise caution and obey all traffic signs or barricades in place, regardless of whether a roadway looks clear.

New Yorkers should also check on friends, family and neighbors, especially the elderly. Power outages can affect the ability of individuals to heat their homes, which could lead to dangerously cold temperatures in the winter months.

The Governor is offering these additional safety tips:

If You Lose Power 

  • Call your utility provider to notify them of the outage and listen to local broadcasts for official information. For a list of utilities, visit the New York State Department of Public Service. Check to see if your neighbors have power. Check on people with access or functional needs.
  • Use only flashlights for emergency lighting - candles pose the risk of fire.
  • Keep refrigerators and freezer doors closed - most food requiring refrigeration can be kept safely in a closed refrigerator for several hours. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for approximately four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours.
  • Do not use a charcoal grill indoors and do not use a gas stove for heat - they could give off harmful levels of carbon monoxide.
  • In cold weather, stay warm by dressing in layers and minimizing time spent outdoors. Be aware of cold stress symptoms (i.e., hypothermia) and seek proper medical attention if symptoms appear.

 

After a Power Outage

  • Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40 °F (4°C) for two or more hours, or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. "When in doubt, throw it out!"
  • If food in the freezer is colder than 40°F and has ice crystals on it, it can be re-frozen.
  • If you are concerned about medications having spoiled, contact your doctor.
  • Restock your emergency kit with fresh batteries, canned foods and other supplies. 

 

Before Using a Generator

During power interruptions, properly sized and installed emergency generators can safely power electrical equipment such as portable heating units, computers, water pumps, milking machines, home freezers, refrigerators and lighting. If you use an emergency generator, it is essential that you take precautions for your safety and for the safety of those working to restore power.

  • Select a proper generator by evaluating what appliances you really need to power in an emergency.
  • Read, understand and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Be sure that you fully understand the proper installation and operating procedures for your unit. If possible, have your generator installed by a qualified electrician.
  • Before installing a generator, be sure to disconnect properly from your utility electrical service.

 

When Operating a Generator 

Keep these key points in mind when operating an emergency generator:

  • Keep children away from generators at all times.
  • Operate outdoors in a clean, dry area.
  • Generator must be grounded properly.
  • After losing power, turn off main breaker or pull main fuse block.
  • Generators that are directly connected to existing wiring systems must use double-pole, double-throw (DPDT) transfer switch.
  • All electrical connections must comply with New York State Fire and Building Codes.
  • Do not overload generator with too many appliances.
  • Use properly sized extension cords in good condition.

 

Fire Hazards 

  • Generators become hot while running and remain hot for long periods after they are stopped.
  • When spilled on hot engine parts, generator fuels (gasoline, kerosene, etc.) can ignite and cause an explosion. If your generator has a detachable fuel tank, remove it before refilling. If this is not possible, shut off the generator and let it cool before refilling.
  • Gasoline and other generator fuels should be stored and transported in approved containers (properly designed and marked for their contents), and vented.
  • Do not store generator fuels in your home. Store fuels away from living areas.
  • Keep fuel containers away from flame producing and heat generating devices such as the generator itself, water heaters, cigarettes, lighters, and matches. Do not smoke around fuel containers - escaping vapors or vapors from spilled materials can travel long distances to ignition sources.
  • Be aware that you may be liable for damage or injury to people and property resulting from an improperly installed or operated emergency generator.

 

Alternate Heating Sources

  • Space Heaters - Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from furniture, window treatments, bedding, clothing, rugs, and other combustibles. Avoid the use of extension cords with electric heaters. Always turn off space heaters before leaving the room or going to bed.  
  • Fuel Burning Appliances -Inspect the shut off mechanism and wick for proper operation. Fill the tank with fresh fuel. Let the heater cool down before refueling. Adding fuel to a hot heater can start a dangerous fire.  
  • Wood Burning Appliances and Fireplaces - Do not burn trash in the wood stove or fireplace. Burn only well-seasoned hardwoods. Be sure the fire you build fits your fireplace or stove, don't overload it. Be sure wood stoves are installed at least 36 inches away from the wall. Keep combustible materials well away from the fireplace, stove and chimney. Keep the area around them clean. Always use a fireplace screen to prevent sparks from leaving the fireplace and starting a fire. Never leave a fire unattended.  
  • Chimneys - Creosote accumulation is the leading cause of chimney fires. A chimney that is dirty, blocked or is in disrepair can inhibit proper venting of smoke up the flue and can also cause a chimney fire. Nearly all residential fires originating in the chimney are preventable. An annual chimney inspection by a qualified chimney sweep can prevent fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.  
  • Ashes - Keep wood stoves and fireplaces free of excess ash buildup. Excessive ash buildup prevents good circulation of air needed for combustion. When removing ashes, use a metal container with a tight-fitting cover. Always place ashes in an outside location away from structures. Ashes that seem cool may contain a smoldering charcoal that can start a fire.

 

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is produced anywhere that fuel is burned and is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States. It is an odorless, tasteless and invisible killer, and the ONLY safe way to detect it is with a carbon monoxide alarm. Carbon monoxide alarms range in price from $20 to $50 depending on additional features.  

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include sleepiness, headaches and dizziness. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, ventilate the area and get to a hospital.

Other safety tips include:

  • Make sure chimneys and vents are checked for blockages, corrosion, and loose connections.
  • Open flues completely when fireplaces are in use.
  • Use proper fuel in space heaters.
  • Never burn charcoal or a barbecue grill inside a home or enclosed space.
  • Never use portable fuel-burning camping equipment inside a home, garage, or vehicle
  • Never leave a car running in an attached garage, even with the garage door open.
  • Never operate unvented fuel-burning appliances in any room where people are sleeping.
  • Never use the kitchen stove for heating a house.
  • Never run a gas powered generator in a garage, basement, or near any overhang on the home. Keep it at a distance.
Translations
Translations
Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office