Governor Hochul: “You have to be very conscious of the surroundings around you and be vigilant during this heightened time of emergency. We have states of emergency all over, you know, from not just the Southern Tier but through the North Country, Mohawk Valley, Capital Region, we have had a lot of snow there. So we've got the resources in place, we know how to do this, we have a Governor from Buffalo, so I'm well familiar with dealing with major snow events."
Hochul: “People have to be very careful. Stay home if you can, work from home if you can. You know, schools are closed, that’s good, there’s a travel ban, which is good…We're always prepared for a situation like this. We have teams that are very experienced and again, embedded with the county. And I want to thank the County Executive for his leadership.”
Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul was a guest on Binghamton Now with Bob Joseph on WNBF Radio and provided an update on the late-season winter storm that brought rain and snow to several parts of the state Monday evening.
A rush transcript of the interview is available below:
Bob Joseph: On news radio WNBF 1290 AM and 92.1 FM, also on the WNBF app, streaming live, WNBF.com. We’re joined now by Governor Kathy Hochul, who’s in Albany. Good morning, Governor.
Governor Hochul: Good morning, Bob, quite a morning our friends in Broome County woke up to.
Bob Joseph: It's remarkable, everything – I was here in downtown Binghamton exactly 12 hours ago, and we had a little bit of light rain and I almost thought, well, I know what the forecast says, but we're not going to have a problem. The thing is within the next four or five hours, things had turned drastically as that rain changed to snow.
Governor Hochul: It sure did, and you know, we track this. I was in constant communication with our head of emergency operations, Jackie Bray, who will be on the ground with me later today. And we have, you know, we saw, you know, the possibility of this, but it's always about being prepared for the worst.
And so, we had a conversation just a short time ago. I spoke to the County Executive personally. We've been talking to his team since yesterday, to prepare for making sure we had the crews on the ground for restoration of power, which we absolutely needed in the county since there's about 47, 45,000 homes without power today, as well as making sure we can send state resources to help clear the roads. And that's the real problem, I'm sure you can see on the ground yourself.
Bob Joseph: It really is a mess. I mean, it's sloppy and slushy. And the thing is at four this morning, when I was letting the dogs out, I was standing on my deck, just assessing the situation and all around me, in some of the neighboring yards, I could hear the sound of branches and limbs falling down.
And fortunately none fell in the backyard while my dogs were out there taking care of business. But I was, to be honest with you, I was very concerned, even though they were out for just a couple of minutes.
Governor Hochul: Yeah, that's something people need to be very cognizant of all day today. You know, as long as there's ice on the limbs, they're vulnerable. You know, it's not as bad as when there, you know – we didn't think it would be as bad because there are not leaves on a lot of the limbs yet. You know, certainly in upstate, spring is just starting. But that being said, it was a very heavy snow. And as a result, the weight of them is snapping these limbs, which is sad when you see your beautiful trees harmed like that. But it also can be dangerous for people walking on the streets or walking under power lines or if people are getting into their cars.
You have to be very conscious of the surroundings around you and be vigilant during this heightened time of emergency. We have states of emergency all over, you know, from not just the Southern Tier but through the North Country, Mohawk Valley, Capital Region, we have had a lot of snow there. So we've got the resources in place, we know how to do this, we have a Governor from Buffalo, so I'm well familiar with dealing with major snow events. And I have a dynamite team that's been closely embedded with the local emergency operations.
So, just so you're listeners know, we really want them to stay off the roads today. Let them do their job, let them clear them. And with the weather warming up, it should be a much better situation by later today and tomorrow. But right now it is a dangerous situation to be outdoors because of the environment that I just described.
Bob Joseph: It's 9:14 on this Tuesday morning, we're speaking live with Governor Kathy Hochul, who's in Albany. We heard from the County Executive shortly after he spoke with you, he was with us about 30 minutes ago. And he mentioned that the guidance that the County Emergency Services officials have been receiving from NYSEG is that the power restoration, because it is so widespread ,with perhaps as many as half the homes and businesses in Broome County right now without electric service, that restoration is likely to take a matter of days. What have you and your people been hearing from utility officials?
Governor Hochul: Similar, but we also think that we'll be able to ramp it up. We are making sure that crews are coming from other parts of the state. When a storm is forecasted, as you said, you don't know exactly where the hardest hit area is going to be. So you have people positioned to be ready to assist, but then when it hits, you can bring back people from all corners. We can bring people from Long Island, and the North County, and Western New York. So we are deploying them, so there will be more crews on the ground to be able to respond to restoration. So, yes, there could be some that linger beyond today and tomorrow, but we really do hope that the majority will be restored within a day.
And the majority later today, that's the conversation we're having with utility companies. But again, anything can change because as we restore more, there could be more people offline because of more limbs coming down. That's something we can control.
Bob Joseph: The other concern moving forward, mid-day into the afternoon, national weather service now has issued a wind advisory. So the winds are expected to pick up over the next several hours. And that also means that already weakened branches or power lines are more prone to come down.
Governor Hochul: You're absolutely right about that. That's why people have to be very careful. Stay home if you can, work from home if you can. You know, schools are closed, that’s good, there’s a travel ban, which is good. But also as we saw during some of the other storms, the one advantage here is that power is out, but it's not as deathly cold, deadly cold as it was. We had some power outages just about a month and a half ago. And the temperatures plummeted into the single digits. And to spend a night or two, and actually some cases, it was Columbia County was hit for five, three days, people without power and it was bitter, bitter cold. So people had to go into warming stations. And so, we make sure that those facilities are available, and Ulster County was hit as well too. We can also, we're prepared for this, but the fact that it's going to be warming up is also very positive.
Of course you would expect the middle of April is going to be warmer than we had to deal with in January. But we've had a lot of storms this year, a lot of power outages and, you know, mother nature is really hitting as hard. If it was a little bit earlier I would have thought this was April fool's joke but as we're approaching May, we're closer to May than to March. It is a surprise, but we're always prepared, always prepare for a situation like this. We have teams that are very experienced and again, embedded with the county. And I want to thank the County Executive for his leadership. He's been through a lot. We've worked closely together dealing with the COVID when it first started back in 2020.
I know I was in constant communication with him and went with him to visit many of our testing sites and our vaccination sites. So you really have a seasoned pro on the ground. We’ve been there managing the situation.
Bob Joseph: Indeed. You're in Albany now. And you do plan to head to Broome County, if that's at all possible perhaps this afternoon.
Governor Hochul: Yes, I will. Someway we can get in transportation wise, but I expect we'll be there certainly before the evening. So, that is my plan.
Bob Joseph: Anything else to add for the people here in the Binghamton area on this Tuesday morning?
Governor Hochul: Be safe. Stay home. Start binge-watching the shows you left off during the pandemic. Just stay safe for a day or two. We'll get through this and sunny days certainly lie ahead.
Bob Joseph: And go Bills.
Governor Hochul: Go Bills is right.
Bob Joseph: It's not football season. It’s always go Bills.
Governor Hochul: There's always another season to look forward to. So thank you. Thanks for having me on the show today, Bob.
Bob Joseph: You’re welcome. Governor Kathy Hochul, live from Albany on News Radio WNBF and WNBF.com.