Mix of Rain and Snow Combined with Low Temperatures May Make Travel Difficult, Especially in Higher Elevations
Snow Totals Expected to Range from Up to Six Inches in Higher Elevations and Lake Effect Areas to an Inch or Less in Lower Elevations
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today urged New Yorkers to prepare for difficult driving conditions and colder temperatures in the coming days as a storm system is forecasted to impact the state beginning Thursday. Rain and rain changing to snow are forecasted along with colder temperatures that, combined with advancing precipitation, may cause difficult travel in some spots. Higher elevations and lake effect areas could see up to six inches of snow, while lower elevations may only see an inch or less of snow and/or slush. Drivers should expect slippery conditions on roadways and travel with extreme caution. All New Yorkers are urged to practice safe behavior and heed any emergency orders from local officials.
"This storm is projected to create dangerous road conditions in many areas across the state, and we are going to provide all the necessary resources and work with local authorities to respond to any public safety concerns," Governor Cuomo said. "I am urging drivers to be extra cautious and stay off the roads if possible to allow response vehicles to do their work quickly and effectively."
The storm system arrives Thursday across the State, bringing snow to higher elevations and rain changing to snow for areas with lower elevations. For North Country, Mohawk Valley, and Capital Regions, some higher peaks of the Adirondacks may see up to six inches of snow, but this should be isolated and at elevations above 3000 feet; valley areas should see two inches of snow or less. For Western NY, the Finger Lakes and parts of Central NY, lake effect snow showers will develop Thursday night and Friday southeast of the lakes with localized minor accumulations. For the Southern Tier and Mid-Hudson Valley, snow amounts will vary by elevation. Totals through Thursday night are anticipated to run anywhere from 1-4 inches in higher terrain areas; lower elevations should see an inch or less of snow and/or slush. The lower Mid-Hudson, New York City and Long Island will receive only rain due to warmer temps downstate. Friday will see much colder conditions across the state along with scattered snow showers producing additional light accumulations.
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services' Emergency Operations Center (State EOC) is currently activated to Level Four status to assist with coordination of state assets in response to the Halloween 2019 storm upstate. The State EOC will continue to monitor weather conditions and stay in contact with localities throughout the duration of the storm. State Stockpiles are prepared to deploy assets to localities affected by storm-related needs, including pumps, chainsaws, sandbags and bottled water.
Department of Transportation
The State Department of Transportation is prepared to respond with 3,450 supervisors and operators statewide. To support snow and ice activities in critical areas, a total of 16 large dump trucks and 10 plow truck operators are being deployed as follows:
- Mohawk Valley:
- Receiving 6 large plow trucks from Central NY
- Receiving 4 large plow trucks from Mid-Hudson Region
- Receiving 6 large plow trucks from the Southern Tier
- Receiving 10 plow operators from Long Island
All out-of-region resources are preparing for travel and scheduled to be in place before the onset of the weather event. All Residency locations will be staffed for 24/7 operation throughout the duration of the event. Field crews are currently patrolling roadways and checking/clearing drainage inlets and other drainage structures of leaves and other debris. Flood and tree response equipment is being readied to support response to any issues resulting from the pending rain/wet snow.
Statewide assets are as follows:
- 1565 Large Plow Trucks
- 185 Medium Duty Plows
- 51 Tow Plows
- 329 Large Loaders
- 39 Snow Blowers
The Thruway Authority has 655 supervisors and operators ready to deploy 210 large snow plows, 95 medium snow plows, 11 tow plows and 56 loaders across the state with more than 128,000 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 encourages 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
All Troopers will closely monitor conditions for any problems. State Police are 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 Police Officers, Forest Rangers, Emergency Management staff, and regional staff are on alert and monitoring the developing situation and actively patrolling areas likely to be impacted by the storm. All available assets, including snowmobiles and utility vehicles, are ready 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 https://parks.ny.gov or call their local park office for the latest updates regarding park hours, openings and closings.
- 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.