January 26, 2021
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Urges Travelers and Commuters to Use Caution as Winter Storm System Begins Impacting New York

TOP Governor Cuomo Urges Travelers and Commuters to...

All State Emergency Response Resources Have Been Engaged and Are Prepared to Assist Localities with Storm-Related Operations

Portions of North Country Could See Up to 8 Inches of Snow; Remaining Portions of State Could Receive Up to 6 Inches of Snow or Wintery Mix Through Wednesday Morning

Storm Will Impact Tuesday Evening and Wednesday Morning Commutes; Travelers Should Use Extreme Caution

WYSIWYG

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today urged New Yorkers to use extreme caution during the Tuesday evening and Wednesday Morning commutes as a large winter storm system has begun impacting much of New York. The storm is expected to produce up to 8 inches of snow in portions of the North Country and between 3 to 6 inches of snow or a mixture of sleet and freezing for several areas throughout the rest of the state. At the Governor's direction, state agencies have deployed all necessary response resources and stand ready to assist any local government in need. New Yorkers, especially those who are commuting or traveling Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, should pay close attention to local weather forecasts and plan extra time to reach their destination safely.

 

"New Yorkers have dealt with winter weather before, and we will again, but given the impact this storm is expected to have on our roadways during high-traffic commuting times, I am urging anyone who has to travel, to do so as carefully as possible," Governor Cuomo said. "New Yorkers can rest assured that our plows are already out clearing the roads and all available emergency response assets are ready to go. This isn't anything we haven't seen before and we will get through it, but it will take all of us acting responsibly to do so."

 

This latest storm system began impacting the state Tuesday afternoon and is expected to last through Wednesday morning. Parts of the Adirondacks and the Catskills could see up to 8 inches of snow, while most other areas, including New York City and Long Island, could see anywhere between 3 to 6 inches of snow or a mixture of sleet and freezing rain. Temperatures across the state will range from mid 20s to low 30s during the daytime hours, however during the overnight hours, some road surfaces may be slippery due to falling temperatures and depending on the type of precipitation. Drivers are being reminded use extra caution when traveling during the next 24 hours.

 

The weekend will see temperatures drop across most of the state as an arctic air mass will push into the region Thursday night and last through Saturday, with low temperatures hovering around zero or below.

 

The National Weather Service has already issued a number of Winter Weather warnings and advisories for much of the state. For a complete listing of weather watches and warnings in your area, visit your area's National Weather Service website.

 

Agency Preparations

 

Department of Transportation

The State Department of Transpiration is responding to this event and has the following statewide assets available:

 

  • 1,617 snow plows
  • 313 large loaders
  • 176 medium duty plows
  • 52 tow plows
  • 38 snowblowers
  • 20 graders
  • 11 pickup trucks with plows

 

Thruway Authority

The Thruway Authority has 694 operators and supervisors ready to respond with 247 large snow plows, 102 medium snow plows, 10 tow plows and 61 loaders across the state with more than 122,000 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 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

 

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 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.  Response equipment is being fueled, tested and prepared for storm response use. Park visitors should check parks.ny.gov or call their local park office for the latest updates regarding park hours, openings and closings.

 

Department of Public Service

New York's utilities have approximately 5,500 workers available to engage in damage assessment, response and restoration efforts across New York State.  Department of Public Service staff will track the utilities' work throughout the storm event and will ensure the utilities shift the appropriate staffing to the regions anticipated to experience the greatest impact.

 

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 and Utility Task Vehicles, are staged and ready for immediate response.  All Troop emergency power and communications equipment has been tested.

 

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.
  • 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.

 

For more safety tips, visit the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services website at http://www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/safety-info/winter/.

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