November 19, 2018
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Urges Caution as Winter Weather and Extremely Cold Temperatures Approach New York

Governor Cuomo Urges Caution as Winter Weather and Extremely Cold Temperatures Approach New York

Up to Six Inches of Snow Forecasted for Eastern Parts of Upstate New York with Possible Record-Breaking Cold Later in the Week

Snowy and Icy Conditions to Create Difficult Driving Conditions for Commutes and Holiday Travel

Extreme Cold to Potentially Create Dangerous Outdoor Conditions on Thanksgiving

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today urged New Yorkers to prepare for difficult driving conditions and extreme cold in the coming days as winter weather and a strong arctic cold front are forecasted to impact the state beginning early Tuesday morning and lasting through the weekend. The National Weather Service will place a Winter Weather Advisory in effect for the Capital Region and Mid-Hudson Valley, as well as parts of the Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley, beginning at 1 a.m. Tuesday morning until later that evening. Some areas could see up to six inches of snow. Additionally, a strong arctic cold front is expected to impact these areas beginning Wednesday afternoon, bringing potentially record-breaking cold temperatures and snow squalls with it. Drivers should expect the potential for icy conditions on roadways and travel with extreme caution, and all New Yorkers are being urged to practice safe behavior when outside in extreme cold.

"Winter weather is upon us once again bringing snow, rain and extremely cold temperatures, making travel and outdoor activities potentially dangerous this holiday week," Governor Cuomo said. "We are closely monitoring this weather, preparing equipment and readying resources to ensure we are keeping roads open and New Yorkers safe."

Beginning early Tuesday morning, snow showers are forecast for much of New York, with the additional possibility of some rain in the Capital Region, Long Island, Mid-Hudson Valley and New York City. Temperatures will be in the low 20s to low 40s with snow accumulations ranging between half an inch to six inches.

A strong arctic cold front is expected to move into New York Wednesday afternoon bringing very cold temperatures and snow squalls that may impact the evening commute. While snow squalls typically produce low snow accumulations, they can lead to brief reductions in visibilities and when paired with rapidly falling temperatures, can produce icy and treacherous road conditions. Later in the evening, even colder temperatures are expected to arrive and last through Thanksgiving night. Strong winds with gusts up to 40 mph and single digit temperatures could lead to dangerous wind chill values of zero degrees to 10 degrees below zero. Temperatures on Thanksgiving are expected to remain very cold, only rising into the teens and low 20s with winds remaining breezy. The cold will continue into Friday morning, with low temperatures ranging from 10 degrees to 10 degrees below zero.

For a complete listing of weather watches, warnings, advisories and latest forecasts, visit the National Weather Service website.

Safety in Extreme Cold

Dress for the Season

  • Wear loose, lightweight, warm clothing in several layers. Trapped air between the layers acts as an insulator. Layers can be removed to avoid perspiration and subsequent chill. Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellent and hooded.
  • Always wear a hat or cap on your head since half of your body heat could be lost through an uncovered head.
  • Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from extreme cold.
  • Mittens, snug at the wrist, are better than gloves because fingers maintain more warmth when they touch each other.

Physical Exertion

Winter storm conditions and cold waves are the deadliest types of weather as cold temperatures put an extra strain on your heart. Heavy exertion, such as shoveling snow, clearing debris or pushing a car can increase the risk of a heart attack.

To avoid problems, remember these tips:

  • Stay warm, dress warm and SLOW DOWN when working outdoors.
  • Take frequent rests to avoid over exertion.
  • If you feel chest pain -- STOP and seek help immediately.


Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can cause hypothermia, especially in children and the elderly.

Watch for these symptoms:

  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Exhaustion
  • Uncontrollable shivering, followed by a sudden lack of shivering

If a person's body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, get emergency medical assistance immediately. Remove wet clothing, wrap the victim in warm blankets and give warm, non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated liquids until help arrives.


People working or playing outdoors during the winter can develop frostbite and not even know it. There is no pain associated with the early stages of frostbite, so learn to watch for these danger signs:

  • First, the skin may feel numb and become flushed. Then it turns white or grayish-yellow. Frostbitten skin feels cold to the touch.
  • If frostbite is suspected, move the victim to a warm area. Cover the affected area with something warm and dry. Never rub it!
  • Then get to a doctor or hospital as quickly as possible.

Safe Travel

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.
  • If you must travel, make sure your car is stocked with survival gear like blankets, a shovel, flashlight and extra batteries, extra warm clothing, a set of tire chains, battery booster cables, quick energy foods and brightly colored cloth to use as a distress flag.
  • Do not attempt to drive over flooded roads; turn around and go another way. Water moving at two mph can sweep cars off a road or bridge.
  • Watch for areas where rivers or streams may suddenly rise and flood, such as highway dips, bridges and low areas.
  • If you are in your car and water begins to rise rapidly around you, abandon the vehicle immediately.

Additionally, the leading cause of death and injuries during winter storms is transportation accidents. Before getting behind the wheel, ensure 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, snowdrifts can hide smaller children. Moreover, always match your speed to the road and weather conditions.

It's important for motorists on all roads 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.

Agency Preparations

The State Department of Transportation responds to storms with nearly 1,600 large dump trucks, over 175 medium duty plows and hundreds of other pieces of equipment, including snow blowers, smaller plow trucks, loaders and graders. This equipment, as well as more than 3,500 operators and supervisors, are deployed across the state as necessary in advance of winter storms to help keep roads safe.

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 Thruway Authority has 632 supervisors and operators ready to deploy 240 Large Snow Plows, 123 Medium Snow Plows, 10 Tow Plows and 53 Loaders across the state with more than 124,000 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.

Contact the Governor's Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474 - 8418
New York City: (212) 681 - 4640


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