November 20, 2016
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Urges Caution for Lake Effect Winter Snow Storms Forecast in Western, Northern New York

Governor Cuomo Urges Caution for Lake Effect Winter Snow Storms Forecast in Western, Northern New York

Governor Directs State Agencies to Deploy Resources in Advance of First Major Storm of the Season

Hazardous Driving Conditions Expected for Monday Morning Commute Due to Slick Roads and Low Visibility

Heavy Wind Gusts with Snow Create Blizzard-Like Conditions At Times

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today urged residents to begin taking the necessary steps to prepare for lake effect snow and snow storms that will impact parts of Western and Northern New York into Central New York, the eastern Mohawk Valley, upper Hudson Valley and the Capital District tonight through Monday morning. The Governor also directed the Office of Emergency Management, State Police, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, the Office of Fire Prevention and Control, the Department of Transportation and the Thruway to enhance monitoring and prepare to deploy resources.

"With the first major snowfall forecast for parts of the state, I am urging New Yorkers to be prepared and stay safe," Governor Cuomo said. "We are actively monitoring these storms, and New Yorkers should take appropriate precautions now, especially if they are traveling. Roads may become hazardous, and I strongly encourage everyone to drive responsibly.”

The National Weather Service has issued Lake Effect Snow Warnings through Monday morning for Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chenango, Cortland, Southern Erie, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, and Wayne Counties. Winter Storm Warnings have been issued for Western Albany, Clinton, Eastern Columbia, Essex, Franklin, Western Greene, Rensselaer, and St. Lawrence counties.

Lake Effect Snow Advisories have been issued for Allegany, Delaware, Genesee Livingston, Monroe, Ontario Otsego, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tompkins, Wyoming, and Yates counties.

Winter Weather Advisories have been issued for Schenectady, and Ulster counties. Wind Advisories have been issued for Eastern Albany, Eastern Columbia, Eastern Dutchess, Eastern Greene, Eastern Rensselaer, Eastern Schenectady, Eastern Ulster, Hamilton, Montgomery, Northern Fulton, Northern Herkimer, Northern Warren, Northern Washington, Schoharie, Southeast Warren, Southern Fulton, Southern Herkimer, Southern Saratoga, Southern Washington, Western Albany, Western Columbia, Western Dutchess, Western Greene, Western Rensselaer, Western Schenectady, and Western Ulster counties.

Wind gusts up to 45 mph in some regions will make driving conditions dangerous due to slick roads and white out conditions at times, especially during the Monday morning commute and wind gusts could bring down some snow-covered tree limbs and power lines. High profile vehicles may be impacted from strong winds.

The forecast in Western New York calls for snow across the elevations of the western southern tier through tomorrow. The highest snowfall amounts occurring in Chautauqua Ridge/Boston Hills and the Tug Hill Plateau where up to 24 inches are forecast. Total accumulation of 8 to 12 inches in the St. Lawrence Valley and 12 to 18 inches in the northern Adirondacks are forecast and 1 to 8 inches are expected in the Capital District, Eastern Mohawk Valley and the upper Hudson Valley with a total of 8 to 15 inches in the higher elevations.

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner John P. Melville said, “Now is the time to review your family emergency plan, determine what supplies are needed and stored to be prepared for any emergency. Make sure you monitor the forecast and download NY-Alert so you are aware of local weather conditions.”

State Agency Resources

At the Governor’s direction, the Watch Center in the State Office of Emergency Management will be in an enhanced monitoring staffing pattern Sunday evening through Monday, as well as the Office of Emergency Management Central Regional Operations Center in Syracuse. In addition, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services will be pre-deploying two high axle vehicles, two six-person tracked UTVs and one nine-person tracked excursion with 12 staff from the Office of Fire Prevention and Control to the regional stockpile in Monroe county to prepare for deployment if necessary. Additional six-person tracked UTVs are on standby for movement to other portions of the state as necessary.

The New York State Thruway Authority has over 600 operators and supervisors statewide ready to deploy 196 Large Snow Plows, 135 Medium Snow Plows and 50 Loaders to the region along with four snowblower and snowblower loader trucks. The Thruway Authority has more than 121,000 tons of road salt on hand statewide.

The New York State Thruway Authority encourages motorists to sign up for TRANSalert e-mails, which provide the latest traffic conditions along the Thruway. Motorists can sign up for TRANSalerts here.

Thruway travelers can also get real-time updates by following @ThruwayTraffic on Twitter or by visiting to see an interactive map showing traffic conditions for the Thruway and other New York State roadways.

The New York State Department of Transportation has more than 3,500 operators and supervisors statewide and are ready to respond with 1,466 large plow/dump trucks, 199 medium plow/dump trucks, 334 loaders, 45 truck/loader mounted snow blowers, 57 tow plows and 15 pickup trucks with plows. The Department of Transportation also has more than 495,000 tons of road salt on hand.

Motorists are reminded to check 511NY by calling 511 or by accessing 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.

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 If you do not own or have access to a computer, call toll-free 1-888-697-6972 or download the app on your smartphone at

Following is a list of items all residents should have available:

  • Flashlight and extra batteries. · Battery-powered portable radio or NOAA Weather Radio to receive emergency information. The radio will allow you to listen to weather forecasts, information, and other emergency broadcasts by local authorities.
  • 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.

Other safety tips to remember for winter weather:

Safety on the Road

It is important for motorists on all roads to note that snowplows travel at speeds up to 35 miles per hour, 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 winter driving include:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Winterize Your Vehicle

Preparing your vehicle for the winter season now will help ensure your vehicle is in good working order when you need it most.

  • Have a mechanic check the following items on your vehicle:
  • Battery Wipers and windshield washer fluid
  • Antifreeze
  • gnition system
  • Thermostat
  • Lights
  • Exhaust system
  • Flashing hazard lights
  • Heater
  • Brakes
  • Defroster
  • Oil level
  • Install good winter tires. Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. You may also want to carry a set of tire chains in your vehicle for heavy snow conditions. · Keep a windshield scraper and small broom for ice and snow removal and maintain at least a half tank of gas throughout the winter season.
  • Finally, plan long trips carefully. Listen to the local media report or call law enforcement agencies for the latest road conditions.

Drive Safely

The leading cause of death and injuries during winter storms is transportation accidents.

  • Before getting behind the wheel this winter season, every driver could learn a lesson from our school bus drivers. It is elementary, but we have to keep our vehicles clear of ice and snow. Good vision is a key to good driving.
  • Plan your stops and keep more distance between cars. Be extra alert. Remember, snowdrifts can hide smaller children. Moreover, always match your speed to the road and weather conditions.


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