December 17, 2019
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Urges Caution as Storm System Continues to Impact New York with Snow, Ice and Freezing Temperatures

TOP Governor Cuomo Urges Caution as Storm System...

Snow and Ice Accumulations Across Capital Region, Mohawk Valley, and Mid-Hudson Regions Will Likely Impact Evening Commutes Across Multiple Counties

Temperatures Expected to Plummet Overnight Wednesday Until The Weekend

State Assets to Remain Deployed As Another Weather System Arrives Wednesday

WYSIWYG

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today continued to urge caution as a storm system moved across the state, bringing snow and minor accumulations of ice to the Capital Region, Mohawk Valley and Hudson Valley. Temperatures are also expected to plummet overnight Wednesday and the cold will last until the weekend. The system has already caused slippery conditions on roadways throughout the state and is expected to impact the evening commute as well. State response assets that were pre-deployed in advance of today's storm will remain at current locations as more snow is expected in the coming days. New Yorkers should travel carefully, pay close attention to their local weather reports, and take the steps necessary to ensure their families are protected in the event of a power outage. As of 10:30 a.m., New York State Police already responded to 142 weather related motor vehicle crashes across the state.

 

"This storm continues to cause difficult conditions on local roadways and major thoroughfares and we urge motorists to slow down during their commutes," Governor Cuomo said. "We are monitoring these storms closely and our state assets are working hard to clear roads and respond to any emergencies."

 

Winter Weather Advisories have been issued by the National Weather Services until late this evening for multiple locations due to snow and freezing rain. Snow is currently falling across most of state south of the North Country. Snow totals are expected to reach 4 to 8 inches in the Mohawk Valley and Capital District regions and 2 to 4 inches in most of the rest of state, with a trace to an inch in the metro New York City area. Freezing rain is also expected in the Hudson Valley today with minor accumulations, which may be enough to cause transportation-related issues, especially during the evening commute tonight.

 

Following this system, a cold front will move through the state beginning Wednesday that could cause some isolated snow squalls and wind gusts throughout the state, as well as lake effect snow, especially in the southern Western New York Region, where totals may reach between 8 to 12 inches in some areas. Temperatures are also expected to plummet overnight Wednesday and the cold will last until the weekend, with lows expected in the single digits and wind chills below 0.

 

For more information, visit the National Weather Service website.

 

Agency Preparations

 

Department of Transportation

The State Department of Transportation is prepared to respond with 3,671 supervisors and operators available statewide.

 

Staffing in most-impacted regions is broken down as follows:

  • Capital Region: 456 Supervisors and Operators
  • Mohawk Valley: 306 Supervisors and Operators
  • Mid-Hudson: 566 Supervisors and Operators
  • Eastern Southern Tier: 440 Supervisors and Operators

 

To support snow and ice activities in critical areas, 20 DOT plow truck operators are being deployed from other regions as follows:

  • Mid-Hudson: Receiving 5 plow operators from the North Country 
  • Receiving 5 plow operators from Eastern Southern Tier (From DOT R9/Southern Tier)
  • Receiving 10 plow operators from Long Island. 

 

The need for additional resources will be re-evaluated as conditions warrant throughout the event. Internal shifts will be performed between shops as dictated by operational need.

 

Statewide equipment numbers are as follows:

  • 1599 Large Plow Trucks 
  • 183 Medium Duty Plows 
  • 52 Tow Plows 
  • 328 Large Loaders 
  • 39 Snow Blowers 
  • 75 Chippers 
  • 38 Traffic Signal Trucks 
  • 15 Tree Crew Bucket Trucks 

 

Thruway Authority

The Thruway Authority has 686 operators and supervisors ready to deploy 238 Large Snow Plows, 105 Medium Snow Plows, 11 Tow Plows and 62 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 all Troopers to remain vigilant and closely monitor conditions for any problems. State Police will be 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 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, including snowmobiles and utility vehicles, 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 https://parks.ny.gov/ or call their local park office for the latest updates regarding park hours, openings and closings.

 

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, including the Office of Emergency Management, the PAPD and operations staff at our facilities across the region continue to monitor weather conditions.  All Port Authority facilities are currently open.  Commuters and travelers are encouraged to contact their carriers and airlines for up-to-the-minute information on delays.  For the latest Port Authority alerts, please visit https://www.panynj.gov/port-authority/en/alerts.html and follow us on social media.

 

Safety Tips

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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