Four to Seven Inches of Snow Expected in Western New York and the North Country
Moderate to Heavy Rain Expected Throughout the State Beginning Friday Evening
New Yorkers are Urged to Use Caution While Traveling as Slippery Conditions May Develop on Roads Throughout the State
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today urged New Yorkers to prepare themselves and use caution while traveling as the season's first snow event moves through New York. Lake effect snow accumulations are forecasted primarily for Western New York and the North Country, while the rest of the state will experience rain that may grow heavy at times this evening. Given the forecast, there is a likely chance that many roads and bridges could become quite slippery due to icy conditions or other things like patches of wet leaves. As such, motorists are being urged to drive slower and use caution while traveling.
"As this season's first snow storm moves across the state, I am urging all New Yorkers to help ensure that they, their families and their friends are prepared and to use extreme caution while traveling," Governor Cuomo said. "We are monitoring this storm very closely and are prepared to assist our local partners in any way we can."
Over the course of this blustery weekend, Winter Weather Advisories will be in effect from 1 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday for portions of the Western New York and the North Country regions. Lake effect snow is forecasted to drop four to seven inches of snow in most areas. Snow accumulations could reach as high as 12 inches in the Chautauqua Ridge and Tug Hill Plateau where higher elevations exist. Additionally, rain, which could grow heavy at times, is being forecasted for Central New York, the Capital Region and all areas south. The rainfall is expected to begin this afternoon and grow heavier during the evening hours, before tapering off later at night. Rainfall amounts will generally average between one and two inches, however locally higher amounts will be possible. The National Weather Service has also put Flash Flood Watches in effect for most of the Mid-Hudson region, NYC and Long Island beginning this evening through the overnight hours. For a complete listing of weather watches and warnings, visit the National Weather Service website.
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.
- Do not attempt to drive over flooded roads, turn around and go another way. Water moving at two m.p.h. 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 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.
The State Department of Transportation responds to storms with more than 1,500 large dump trucks, 52 tow 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 www.511NY.org 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.
Additionally, the New York State Thruway Authority has 626 supervisors and operators ready to deploy 230 large snow plows throughout the state, as well as 128 medium duty plows and more than 125,000 tons of salt. 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.