March 6, 2018
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Urges New Yorkers to Prepare for Midweek Nor'easter Moving Up the Coast

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Governor Launches Storm Assistance Hotline to Provide Updates to Public on Shelters, Warming Centers, Power Outages - Call 866-697-2434

State Emergency Operations Center to Increase Activation Level to Include Transportation and Emergency Mass Care Personnel for Potential High Impact Storm

WYSIWYG

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today urged New Yorkers in the eastern portion of the state to prepare for another Nor'easter. The National Weather Service has issued Winter Storm Watches and Warnings for the eastern portion of the Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Capital, Mid-Hudson Valley, New York City, and Long Island regions Tuesday night through Thursday morning. Snowfall rates of up to 2 inches per hour are possible. Sustained winds of 15 mph with gusts up to 40 mph in some areas combined with heavy, wet snow may bring down tree limbs and power lines causing additional power outages. Traveling will be dangerous due to low visibility and slippery road conditions.

As the second storm approaches, the Governor has activated a toll free hotline for New Yorkers to call to get updates on weather, power outage restoration times, and shelters and warming centers in their area. New Yorkers are urged to call 866-697-2434 for assistance. Additionally, the State Emergency Operations Center, remains activated for enhanced monitoring and will increase operations to include all transportation agencies for this upcoming storm.

"With another storm bearing down across New York, we are bolstering our response efforts to keep the roads clear and the power on," Governor Cuomo said. "The state is working hand in glove with local officials to keep resources and personnel in the field and get the job is done. I urge New Yorkers to keep their supplies stocked, stay safe, and stay off the roads as the Nor'easter approaches."

The storm is expected to bring up to 5 to 10 inches of snow in the North Country with up to 12 inches in higher elevations of Hamilton and Essex counties. Central New York, the Mohawk Valley, Capital and Mid-Hudson Valley Regions are forecast to receive 6 to 12 inches of snow, with up to 18 inches forecast for higher elevations in the eastern Catskills. New York City and Long Island could see 8 to 12 inches of snow with less expected for the Twin Forks of Long Island where rain may mix in. Three to 8 inches are possible in these locations. Travel will be difficult due to heavy snow and reduced visibility Wednesday, especially during the evening commute, through Thursday morning.

For an updated listing of Weather Watches and Warnings from the National Weather Service at https://alerts.weather.gov/cap/ny.php?x=1.

State Agency Preparations:

All New Yorkers can obtain emergency information through NY-ALERT, the State's free, all-hazards, web-based alert and notification system. To subscribe, visit nyalert.gov. If you do not own or have access to a computer, call toll-free 1-888-697-6972.

At the Direction of Governor Cuomo, states of emergency have been declared in Dutchess, Putnam, Sullivan and Westchester counties and state personnel have been on the ground for days coordinating with, and providing recovery support and resources to, local governments. To continue progress, Governor Cuomo has deployed senior administration officials and 200 members of the New York National Guard out of Camp Smith in Westchester County to provide any and all assistance needed by localities. Senior administration officials remain on site in each of the four counties as they help lead recovery efforts, while National Guard members are available to assist communities with recovery efforts ranging from debris clearance to traffic control.

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

At the Governor's direction, Commissioner Parrino remains deployed to Putnam County to assess storm and power restoration efforts.  Additionally, the State Emergency Operations Center remains activated for enhanced monitoring and will increase operations to include the State's Transportation agencies and the Emergency Service Mass Care Team led by the Division's Individual Assistance Recovery Staff and comprised of the State Department of Health, American Red Cross and the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to assist with sheltering. The EOC will be activated for this upcoming storm beginning Wednesday morning at 6 a.m. and continue through Friday at 6 p.m. 

The Division's Office of Fire Prevention and Control will deploy up to 20 personnel with expertise in building and fire codes to visit each shelter in Dutchess, Putnam, Sullivan and Westchester County to ensure they are ready to accommodate an influx of citizens. Teams will visit potential additional shelter locations that may be opened to accommodate additional citizens displaced by this new storm. Additionally, OFPC will deploy a snow and water emergency team to the Long Island Welcome Center and a snow emergency team with tracked and high axle vehicles to the Mid-Hudson Valley Region for the duration of the storm.

Currently, 27 generators have been deployed to support municipalities in Westchester and Putnam counties to assist in areas that have been without power since the height of the storm. State stockpiles are prepared with over 700 generators, over 250 light towers, approximately 1,250 pumps, almost 100,000 sandbags, over 63,800 ready to eat meals, over 340,000 cans of water, over 4,000 flashlights, thousands of cots, blankets, and pillows, almost 1,000 traffic barriers, and over 7,000 feet of Aqua Dam temporary flood barrier. Additionally, the Division is prepared with high axle vehicles, utility tracked vehicles, and a tracked sport utility vehicle.

Department of Public Service

As of this morning, utilities have restored power to more than 280,000 customers; however, 74,790 customers remain without power, 94 percent of whom are located in Dutchess, Putnam, Sullivan and Westchester counties.

New York's utilities have a total of 4,910 in-house workers and contractors in New York working on restoration efforts. This includes 1,300 out-of-state line and tree workers from Connecticut, Maine, Michigan, Texas, Ohio, Missouri, North Carolina, Louisiana, Vermont, Iowa, Wisconsin and Canada that will be dedicated to restoration efforts in the hardest hit areas in Hudson Valley.  

The Department of Public Service has extended Call Center Helpline hours starting at 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m., as needed, to assist consumers in their storm restoration efforts. The Department of Public Service Call Center Helpline can be reached by calling 1-800-342-3377.

Public Service Commission staff will continue to monitor the utilities' efforts during the restoration period. The utilities are prepared to respond to power disruptions throughout the event.

Outages by county:

 

Bronx

778

 

Columbia

496

 

Delaware

685

 

Dutchess

5,337

 

Livingston

163

 

Nassau

164

 

Orange

987

 

Putnam

10,970

 

Queens

114

 

Rockland

244

 

Steuben

562

 

Sullivan

9,843

 

Ulster

199

 

Washington

853

 

Westchester

43,059

 

 

New York State Power Authority

The New York Power Authority and the Canal Corporation preparations include weather monitoring, preparing staff for potential deployment, readying equipment for emergency use, and staffing of state Emergency Operations Centers, as needed. 

New York National Guard

The New York National Guard's deployment of 200 service members will remain in the field for this impending storm. Troops are staged out of Camp Smith Training Site while members of the engineer task force operating in Sullivan County are based out of their armory. Airmen from the 105th Airlift Wing are basing at Stewart Air National Guard Base. 60 New York Army National Guard troops—including the engineer battalion's immediate response force—are conducting debris clearance missions in Sullivan County. Twenty Airmen from the 105th Airlift Wing are assigned to conduct debris clearing missions in Putnam County. Additional members of the New York Army National Guard, New York Naval Militia are on call at Camp Smith to handle missions as assigned. Other troops from the New York Naval Militia and New York Guard are conducting logistics and garrison support

New York State Police

The New York State Police are adding extra patrols in affected areas for the duration of the storm. All 4x4 vehicles will be in service, and snowmobiles and Utility Terrain Vehicles will be staged and ready for deployment as needed. All Troop emergency power and communications equipment has been tested. State Troopers continue to assist in areas affected by power outages from last Friday's storm, directing traffic at intersections in Westchester, Putnam and Sullivan Counties, where signals are not operational.

New York State Thruway Authority

The Thruway Authority has 679 supervisors and operators ready to deploy 247 Large Snow Plows, 113 Medium Snow Plows, 11 Tow Plows and 54 Loaders across the state with more than 112,000 tons of road salt on hand. The Thruway Authority is moving additional resources to the Thruway's New York Division in the Lower Mid-Hudson Valley including eight heavy duty plow trucks and 16 plow operators. 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.

Department of Transportation

Acting Commissioner Paul Karas and Assistant Commissioner Sean Hennessey will be deployed to Sullivan County on Wednesday to oversee the state response in the region, while Chief of Staff Todd Westhuis is being deployed to the Hudson Valley Transportation Management Center in Westchester County. 

The State Department of Transportation stands ready to respond with 3,865 operators and supervisors, 1,558 large plow/dump trucks, 20 graders, 323 large loaders, 195 medium plow/dump trucks, 14 pickup trucks with plows, 51 tow plows, 19 mounted snowblower/loaders, and 22 mounted snowblower trucks.

The Department is deploying 145 operators and 39 trucks, and four traffic signal crews from other regions to help Long Island, the Hudson Valley and Mohawk Valley with their storm response.  DOT's Long Island region has also activated 30 contractor large dump trucks and 15 pickups with plows in anticipation of the coming storm.

Motorists are reminded to check 511NY by calling 511 or by accessing www.511ny.org before traveling. The free service allows users to check road conditions and transit information. Mobile users can download the updated, free 511NY mobile app from the iTunes or Google Play stores. The app now features Drive mode, which provides audible alerts along a chosen route while a user is driving, warning them about incidents and construction. Users can set a destination prior to departing and receive information on up to three routes.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority

New York City Transit is pre-deploying equipment and personnel in preparation for significant snow accumulation, with activities beginning Tuesday before snowfall. Equipment includes de-icer trains, snowthrowers and jet snowblowers for yards and tracks, debris trains to support clearing fallen trees from tracks, third-rail heaters, track switch and stop heaters, and ice-scraping shoes installed on diesel and passenger trains. Some articulated buses will be taken off the road, and all local buses will be chained. NYC Transit also deploys snow-fighting equipment to supplement plowing efforts across the city.

Additional personnel are manning special command centers for subway, bus and paratransit operations, including posting at strategic locations to respond to problems more rapidly.  Work trains will operate in open areas to keep tracks clear of snow and ice, and much construction and maintenance work will be suspended during the storm.  Signal maintainers will perform winterization procedures including releasing condensation from the air line network and running diesel locomotives to assist in clearing ice from signal stop arms. Workers will sand and salt platforms, stairs and other station surfaces in advance of snowfall and clear accumulation as necessary.

Subway, bus and paratransit customers should expect weather-related delays and changes in service. Some express subway service may be replaced by local service, as underground express tracks are used to store trains normally kept in open yards. For the latest service updates, visit www.mta.info, follow NYC Transit on Twitter at @NYCTSubway and @NYCTBus, or sign up for email and text-message updates at www.myMTAalerts.com.

MTA Metro-North Railroad

On Wednesday, in order to reduce the possibility of switch trouble, Metro-North is planning to operate a reduced weekday schedule providing 75 percent of normal capacity.

The railroad recommends that customers defer non-essential travel, leave plenty of time and anticipate delays because of potentially hazardous conditions.

The railroad is pre-positioning switching engines at all yards to assist any trains that may become disabled. All trains are being prepared with third rail show shoes and coupler snow bags, and door tracks will be sprayed with de-icer to reduce the instances of door malfunctions.

Personnel are being pre-positioned to clear snow and ice from station platforms and train yards, respond to fallen trees, repair any overhead wire damage and ensure proper functioning of switches.

MTA Long Island Rail Road

Starting at approximately 10 p.m. on Tuesday, the LIRR will begin operating four trains that apply deicing fluid to the railroad's third rails to reduce the chance of snow and ice buildup.

Tuesday night into Wednesday morning and continuing throughout the storm period, the railroad will have additional switch heater crews active to ensure functionality of the railroad's electric and gas switch heaters, which keep switches operable by preventing snow and ice buildup.

The railroad is mobilizing snow clearing crews approximately at 2 a.m. Wednesday to begin pre-salting of platforms and preparing for snow clearance activities throughout the storm. 

Rail-mounted snow blowers are pre-positioned at strategic track switching locations across railroad's service territory.

MTA Bridges and Tunnels

MTA Bridges and Tunnels will increase staffing as needed throughout the storm to ensure an expeditious response to weather-related incidents. Staffing levels will be evaluated throughout the event to ensure efficient deployment of personnel and resources.

Electronic weather sensors on bridges have been checked for proper functionality, giving the agency the ability to monitor weather and roadway conditions in real time at all bridges and tunnels. Equipment and supplies such as deicer, snow trucks with plows, facility generators, fuel, hand-held anemometers, have been checked successfully and are at adequate levels for response and deployment to storm related issues. The agency has more than 8,600 tons of roadway deicer on hand and 104 pieces of storm fighting equipment for storm operations, including conveyors, pay loaders, front loaders, pick-up trucks with plows, for storm operations.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

In advance of the storm, the Port Authority has made extensive preparations for personnel and equipment at all its facilities.  

The agency will activate its Emergency Operations Centers at John F. Kennedy International Airport tonight at 11 p.m. and at LaGuardia Airport this evening at 10:30 p.m. The agency will activate its overall Emergency Operations Center in Jersey City, which oversees all Port Authority facilities, at 6 a.m. Wednesday.

The Port Authority has made extensive plans to provide busing in the event that service on AirTrain JFK must be suspended.  

At LaGuardia Airport, staff have secured cranes and other construction equipment being used as part of the airport's redevelopment program.

Airlines are currently making decisions about whether flights will be cancelled in advance, so travelers should check with their carriers to make sure their flight will be taking off before going to the airport tonight and on Wednesday. If warranted, the Port Authority also is prepared to accommodate ticketed passengers who may become stranded at the airports.

At the tunnels and bridges, the Port Authority urges bus travelers to check with their carriers before going to the bus terminals since many public and private carriers may cancel or delay service if conditions warrant. The agency also may impose speed restrictions on its crossings, or close them entirely based on weather conditions.

PATH plans to operate regular service on Wednesday.

The Port Authority has the following winter weather equipment and supplies ready at its major transportation facilities:

  • 524 pieces of snow equipment at its airports, including melters that can liquefy up to 500 tons of snow an hour and plows that can clear snow at 40 mph;
  • 94 pieces of snow equipment at its bridges and tunnels;
  • Thousands of tons of salt and sand for airport roads and parking lots, plus thousands of tons of salt for the bridges and tunnels;
  • Hundreds of thousands of gallons of liquid anti-ice chemicals at the airports, which prevent snow and ice from bonding to runways and taxiways, plus thousands of tons of solid de-icers, which break up snow and ice already on the ground;
  • Plow equipped trains, liquid snow-melting agent trains and a "jet engine" plow to remove snow from PATH tracks, and snow blowers, plows and spreaders to clear station entrances, roads that serve PATH's 13 stations, and various support facilities.

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, 16 boats, and utility vehicles, are ready to assist with any emergency response. 

Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

New York State Parks has alerted park police and park personnel to closely monitor weather updates. New York State Parks has more than 1,100 emergency equipment resources on hand across the state. This includes light/medium duty plows, snowmobiles, 4x4 vehicles, ATV's and portable generators. Park patrons should monitor www.nysparks.com or call their local park office for the latest updates regarding park hours, openings and closings.

Department of Agriculture and Markets

With heavy wet snow predicted, the Department of Agriculture and Markets reminds farmers about the importance of monitoring the weight load on structures especially barns and other agricultural buildings. Cornell Cooperative Extension and PRO-DAIRY have tips for safely removing snow from roofs here and here.

Act Now to Be Prepared for Coastal Flooding

  • Learn the safest route from your home or business to high, safe ground should you have to leave in a hurry.
  • Develop and practice a 'family escape' plan and identify a meeting place if family members become separated.
  • Make an itemized list of all valuables including furnishings, clothing and other personal property. Keep the list in a safe place.
  • Stockpile emergency supplies of canned food, medicine and first aid supplies and drinking water. Store drinking water in clean, closed containers.
  • Plan what to do with your pets.
  • Have a portable radio, flashlights, extra batteries and emergency cooking equipment available.
  • Keep your automobile fueled. If electric power is cut off, gasoline stations may not be able to pump fuel for several days. Have a small disaster supply kit in the trunk of your car.
  • Find out how many feet your property is above and below possible flood levels. When predicted flood levels are broadcast, you can determine if you may be flooded.
  • Keep materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber handy for emergency water-proofing.

Safe Travel
It is important for motorists on all roads to note that snowplows travel at speeds up to 35 miles per hour, 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.

Some of the most important tips for safe winter driving include:

  • When winter storms strike, do not drive unless necessary.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Drive Safely

The leading cause of death and injuries during winter storms is transportation accidents.

  • Before getting behind the wheel this winter season, every driver could learn a lesson from our school bus drivers. It is elementary, but we have to keep our vehicles clear of ice and snow. Good vision is a key to good driving.
  • Plan your stops and keep more distance between cars. Be extra alert. Remember, snowdrifts can hide smaller children. Moreover, always match your speed to the road and weather conditions.

Prepare for Power Outages

Governor Cuomo urges residents to stay away from any lines that are down as they may be live, and should be considered extremely dangerous.  

Motorists are reminded that State Law mandates that if an intersection is "blacked out" and the traffic signal is not operational, the intersection is automatically a "four way" stop. In the event of closed or blocked roadways due to flooding, downed power lines or debris, motorists are advised to exercise caution and obey all traffic signs or barricades in place, regardless of whether a roadway looks clear. 

New Yorkers should also check on friends, family and neighbors, especially the elderly. Power outages can affect the ability of individuals to heat their homes, which could lead to dangerously cold temperatures in the winter months.

The Governor is offering these additional safety tips:

  • At home or at work, keep a battery-operated radio and flashlight on hand, as well as a supply of batteries. Keep an emergency supply of water, medications, and non-perishable foods handy. If you use medication that requires refrigeration, most can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem - check with your physician or pharmacist.
  • Make sure you have alternative charging methods for your phone or any device that requires power. Charge cell phones and any battery-powered devices.
  • If you have space in your refrigerator or freezer, consider filling plastic containers with water, leaving an inch of space inside each one - this will help keep food cold if the power goes out.
  • At home or at work, keep a battery-operated radio and flashlight on hand, as well as a supply of batteries. Keep an emergency supply of water, medications, and non-perishable foods handy. If you use medication that requires refrigeration, most can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem - check with your physician or pharmacist.
  • Make sure you have alternative charging methods for your phone or any device that requires power. Charge cell phones and any battery-powered devices.
  • If you have space in your refrigerator or freezer, consider filling plastic containers with water, leaving an inch of space inside each one - this will help keep food cold if the power goes out.

If You Lose Power

  • Call your utility provider to notify them of the outage and listen to local broadcasts for official information. For a list of utilities, visit the New York State Department of Public Service Check to see if your neighbors have power. Check on people with access or functional needs.
  • Use only flashlights for emergency lighting - candles pose the risk of fire.
  • Keep refrigerators and freezer doors closed - most food requiring refrigeration can be kept safely in a closed refrigerator for several hours. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for approximately four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours.
  • Do not use a charcoal grill indoors and do not use a gas stove for heat - they could give off harmful levels of carbon monoxide.
  • In cold weather, stay warm by dressing in layers and minimizing time spent outdoors. Be aware of cold stress symptoms (i.e., hypothermia) and seek proper medical attention if symptoms appear.

After a Power Outage

  • Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40°F (4°C) for two or more hours, or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. "When in doubt, throw it out!"
  • If food in the freezer is colder than 40°F and has ice crystals on it, it can be re-frozen.
  • If you are concerned about medications having spoiled, contact your doctor.
  • Restock your emergency kit with fresh batteries, canned foods and other supplies. 
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Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office