November 26, 2023
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Urges New Yorkers to Prepare for Impacts From Lake Effect Snowstorm Monday Through Tuesday

Governor Hochul Urges New Yorkers to Prepare for Impacts From Lake Effect Snowstorm Monday Through Tuesday

Some Areas Near Lakes Erie and Ontario Could Receive More Than a Foot of Snow Through Tuesday in Areas Where the Heaviest Lake Effect Snow Bands Develop

New Yorkers Urged to Use Extra Caution When Traveling in Impacted Areas, Especially During Commuting Hours

Sign up for NY-Alert to Receive Latest Weather Alerts

Governor Kathy Hochul today urged New Yorkers to prepare for a lake effect weather system that is expected to dump more than a foot of snow in locations near Lakes Ontario and Erie starting Monday and continuing into Tuesday evening. For areas near Lake Erie, a widespread 6-12” of snow is expected beginning Monday morning in areas south of Buffalo, with up to 18” possible in parts of southern Erie, Chautauqua, and Cattaraugus counties. For areas near Lake Ontario, beginning Monday afternoon, a widespread 6-12” of snow is expected in areas east of the lake and up to two feet of snow possible in the Tug Hill area. Snowfall rates could reach up to three inches per hour where the snow is heaviest, and wind gusts up to 35 mph are possible in these locations through Tuesday. The rest of Western New York, including the City of Buffalo, and the Finger Lakes regions are expected to receive up to six inches of snow in some locations. New Yorkers should use extra caution when traveling in impacted areas, especially during commuting hours, as weather conditions will likely cause blowing snow and reduce visibility on roads.

“The most hazardous weather conditions will be in the areas where lake effect snow bands form and produce a lot of snow in a short period, which will hamper travel in some places for the next day or so,” Governor Hochul said. “There is still some uncertainty where and when snow bands will form and the heaviest snow will fall, so use extra caution when traveling and stay on top of the forecast throughout this event so you can plan your travel and other activities accordingly. My team will monitor this weather system and its impacts throughout this event and are ready to assist partners at the local level as needed.”

A Lake Effect Snow Warning is in effect Monday through late Tuesday night for southern Erie, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Wyoming, Oswego, Jefferson, and Lewis counties. A Winter Storm Watch for possible heavy lake effect snow is also in effect Monday afternoon through late Tuesday night for northern Oneida, northern Herkimer, and Hamilton counties. Through Monday, most of the rest of the state is forecast to receive up to an inch of rain and higher elevations could see a few inches of snow, causing Monday morning commutes to be potentially unsafe in some places.

For a complete listing of weather alerts and forecasts, visit the National Weather Service website at https://alerts.weather.gov. New Yorkers are encouraged to sign up for emergency alerts by subscribing to NY Alert at https://alert.ny.gov, a free service providing critical emergency information to your cell phone or computer.

Agency Preparations

New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

The Division is actively monitoring the weather forecast and coordinating the State's response to the weather event. Office of Emergency Management staff are in contact with local counterparts and are prepared to facilitate requests for assistance.

The Division is prepared to deploy the following assets and shelter supplies from the State's stockpiles, if necessary:

  • 1,515 generators
  • 536 chainsaws
  • 954 portable heaters
  • 48,636 MREs
  • 345,432 bottles & cans of water
  • 7,877 cots
  • 8,149 blankets
  • 11,220 pillows

New York State Department of Transportation

The State Department of Transportation is prepared to respond with 3,559 supervisors and operators available statewide.

Statewide equipment numbers are as follows:

  • 1,613 large plow trucks
  • 156 medium duty plows
  • 51 tow plows
  • 332 large loaders
  • 36 snow blowers
  • 20 graders

For real-time travel information, motorists should call 511 or visit https://www.511ny.org/ or the mobile site at m.511ny.org, New York State's official traffic and travel information source.

Thruway Authority

The Thruway Authority is ready to respond with 688 operators and supervisors available. Statewide equipment numbers and resources are listed below:

  • 359 large and medium duty plow trucks
  • 9 tow plows
  • 65 loaders
  • More than 130,000 tons of salt on hand

Variable Message Signs 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 information, live traffic cameras, 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.

New York State Department of Public Service

Utility companies regulated by the Department of Public Service have approximately 5,500 workers available statewide to engage in repair and restoration efforts for the winter weather system. DPS staff will track utilities' work throughout the event and ensure utility companies shift appropriate staffing to regions that experience the greatest impact. If your service is interrupted, visit the DPS Utility Service Interruptions website for tips.

New York State Police

State Police are monitoring weather conditions and are prepared to deploy additional Troopers as needed. All State Police four-wheel drive and specialized vehicles, including snowmobiles and utility terrain vehicles, are staged and ready for immediate response, and all emergency power and communications equipment has been tested.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

DEC Emergency Management staff, Environmental Conservation Police Officers, Forest Rangers, and regional staff are on alert and monitoring the developing situation. All available assets are positioned to assist with any emergency response.

Winter hiking safety and preparedness are extremely important regardless of a hiker's physical ability or destination. Properly preparing for winter conditions is essential for a more enjoyable and safer experience. Additional information on winter hiking is available at https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/112826.html.

New York State 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.

Safety Tips

Travel

Some of the most important tips for safe driving include:

  • 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.
  • 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 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. Never attempt to pass a snowplow while its operating.

Power Outages

  • Check with your utility to determine area repair schedules.
  • Turn off or unplug lights and appliances to prevent a circuit overload when service is restored; leave one light on to indicate when power has been restored.
  • If heat goes out during a winter storm, keep warm by closing off rooms you do not need.
  • To Report an Electric Outage, Call:
  • Central Hudson: 800-527-2714
  • Con Edison: 800-752-6633
  • National Grid: 800-867-5222
  • NYSEG: 800-572-1131
  • O&R: 877-434-4100
  • PSEG-LI: 800-490-0075
  • RG&E: 800-743-1701

Heating Safety

  • Use only safe sources of alternative heat such as a fireplace, small well-vented wood or coal stove or portable space heaters.
  • When using alternative heat sources such as a fireplace, woodstove, etc. always make sure you have proper ventilation. Always follow manufacturer's instructions.
  • Keep curtains, towels, and potholders away from hot surfaces.
  • Have a fire extinguisher and smoke detectors and make sure they work.
  • If you use kerosene heaters to supplement your regular heating fuel, or as an emergency source of heat, follow these safety tips:
  • Follow the manufacturers' instructions.
  • Use only the correct fuel for your unit.
  • Refuel outdoors only and only when the unit is cool.
  • Keep the heater at least three feet away from furniture and other flammable objects.
  • When using the heater, use fire safeguards and ventilate properly.

For more winter safety tips, visit https://dhses.ny.gov/safety. For all non-emergency service needs in New York State before, during or after a storm, call 211 or visit 211nys.org.

About the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) provides leadership, coordination, and support to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate disasters and other emergencies. For more information, follow @NYSDHSES on Facebook, Instagram, and X (formerly known as Twitter) or visit dhses.ny.gov.

Contact the Governor's Press Office

Contact us by phone:

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