Areas in the North Country May Receive More than One Foot of Snow by Saturday Morning
Snow and Strong Winds May Cause Hazardous Driving Conditions During Friday Commutes
Coastal Flood Advisories Issued for Downstate Areas Near Tidally-Affected Waterways and Coastlines
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today urged New Yorkers in the Central New York, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier, North Country and Capital Regions to prepare for the potential of heavy snow and gusty winds beginning early Friday and lasting through Saturday morning. Snow is expected to mainly impact areas east and south of Lake Ontario, with up to a foot of snow or more in some locations. Strong and gusty winds Friday night could cause scattered tree damage and isolated power outages, and slippery roads will likely cause trouble for drivers during the morning and evening commutes on Friday.
Downstate, there is the threat for minor to moderate coastal flooding at high tide starting Thursday evening for portions of Long Island Sound and other rivers and waterways typically affected by tidal flooding.
"We are keeping a close eye on two different weather-related events starting Thursday evening, one that will likely result in a foot or more of snow up north, and another that may cause some flooding in coastal locations downstate," Governor Cuomo said. "We are prepared to deploy assets as needed and working with local emergency officials to ensure communities have the resources they need to keep New Yorkers safe."
On Thursday evening, a coastal low will rapidly strengthen and push northeast through the State, which will contribute to widespread precipitation, starting as a mix of rain and wet snow before changing to all snow by late Friday afternoon. Snow will likely continue through Friday night, and conditions will turn windy with gusts up to 45 mph possible as cold air enters the region. Winter Storm Watches have been issued for many locations across the North Country, Mohawk Valley, Central New York and Southern Tier regions, which could receive up to 10 inches of snow in places by Saturday morning. Portions of the North Country may experience up to 15 inches or more of snow.
Another low-pressure system moving north up the mid-Atlantic coast is expected to bring some rain to downstate areas, resulting in minor to moderate flooding in some locations. Coastal Flood Advisories have been issued from Thursday evening to early Friday morning along western portions of the Long Island Sound, Jamaica Bay, Great South Bay, and other tidally-affected areas of rivers and waterways.
New Yorkers should continue to pay close attention to their local weather reports throughout the weekend. For a complete listing of weather watches, warnings, advisories and latest forecasts, visit the National Weather Service website.
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services will coordinate with state agencies and local governments to ensure resources from the State's ten regional stockpiles are available for deployment throughout the weather event. Staff at the State Emergency Operations Center and regional personnel are prepared to respond to any issues as necessary.
Department of Transportation
The Department of Transportation is ready to respond with more than 3,900 operators and supervisors statewide. The Department currently has 1,582 large plow trucks, 189 medium duty plows, 52 tow plows, 328 large loaders and 38 snow blowers. Reserve trucks will be fully engaged in the Mohawk Valley, Central New York, North Country and Southern Tier. Reserve truck usage in less-affected Regions will be evaluated throughout the event, and engaged as necessary.
In addition, to help mitigate ice jams, 14 long reach excavators will be deployed to help clear ice buildup in identified areas.
Motorists are reminded to check 511NY before traveling at or by downloading the mobile app. The free service allows users to check road conditions and features a winter travel advisory system with real-time travel reports and a color-coded map indicating which state roads are clear, wet or snow covered. The system provides motorists with a helpful resource to determine if travel is advisable.
The Governor also recently announced that the State Department of Transportation launched a new public education campaign to promote safe driving in winter conditions. A new website, videos and social media campaign will encourage motorists to drive safely in snow and ice conditions, and urge drivers to give snow plows enough space to operate safely.
The Thruway Authority has 668 supervisors and operators ready to deploy 242 Large Snow Plows, 125 Medium Snow Plows, 11 Tow Plows and 57 Loaders across the state with more than 112,000 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 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. For real-time updates, motorists can follow @ThruwayTraffic on Twitter or by visiting www.thruway.ny.gov to see an interactive map showing traffic conditions for the Thruway and other New York State roadways.
Snowplows travel at about 35 miles per hour - which in many cases is lower than the posted speed limit - in order to ensure that salt being dispersed stays in the driving lanes and does not scatter off the roadways. The safest place for motorists is well behind the snowplows where the roadway is clear and salted.
Department of Public Service
The Department of Public Service is in contact with utility senior executives to ensure that the utilities are prepared for inclement weather, and it will be closely monitoring utility storm-preparation efforts to ensure that utilities stand ready to minimize outages and speed outage restorations. Electric and gas utilities, as well as telecommunication service providers, such as Verizon, are closely watching as the storm develops and are prepared to bring on additional personnel to minimize service disruptions, if they occur.
Utilities are prepared to respond 24 hours a day to utility service disruptions and are mandated to implement their emergency response plans, when needed, which includes performing proper messaging to alert customers to the expected frigid temperatures as well contacting customers on life-support equipment and other vulnerable customers. Department staff will continue to monitor the utilities' efforts during the storm event.
Utilities can provide customers with storm and safety information or customers can call the Department's Call Center for information. The PSC Help Line can be reached by calling 1-800-342-3377.
New York State Police
State Police are prepared to deploy additional Troopers as needed to affected areas. All State Police specialized vehicles including four-wheel drive vehicles, snowmobiles, and Utility Task Vehicles are staged and ready for immediate response. State Police are also coordinating activities with state and local emergency response agencies.
Department of Environmental Conservation
Department of Environmental Conservation Police Officers, Forest Rangers, Emergency Management staff, and regional staff are on alert, 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.
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 is important to drive at slower speeds when approaching patches of them.
- 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.
- If you have a cell phone or other communications device such as a 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. Before getting behind the wheel, make sure that your vehicle is clear of ice and snow; good vision is key to good driving. Plan your stops and keep more distance between cars. Be extra alert and remember that snowdrifts can hide smaller children. Always match your speed to the road and weather conditions.
- It is important for motorists on all roads to note that snowplows travel at speeds up to 35 m.p.h., 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.