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Home Emergency December 14 Issued Weather Alert for NY State - Cuomo Preps Ahead of Coastal Storm

December 14 Issued Weather Alert for NY State – Cuomo Preps Ahead of Coastal Storm

December 14 Issued Weather Alert

Governor Cuomo Directs State Agencies to Prepare Emergency Response Assets as Coastal Storm Threatens to Bring Heavy Snow, Strong Winds and Potential Coastal Flooding

New York City, Long Island, Southern Tier and Mid-Hudson Regions Could See Up to 12 Inches of Snow Beginning Wednesday and Continuing into Thursday

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed state agencies to prepare emergency response assets as a coastal storm system is expected to bring heavy snow, strong winds and potential coastal flooding beginning Wednesday and continuing into Thursday. While the track of the storm is still developing, early forecasts and models show it has the potential to deliver up to 12 inches or more of snow and sleet across the New York City, Long Island, Southern Tier and the Mid-Hudson Regions. New Yorkers are advised to take precautions now for this impending storm, which could also bring blowing and drifting snow, travel delays, and potential power outages.

“Forecasts are calling for this season’s first major snowstorm in the Hudson Valley and points south, so it’s once again time for New Yorkers to find their shovels,” Governor Cuomo said. “On the state side, all of our agencies have readied their emergency response assets, are coordinating with local governments and will help ensure utilities are prepared to address any possible power outages. As the exact forecast becomes clearer over the next 24 hours, New Yorkers should not only monitor their local weather reports for updates, but start preparing their homes, their families and themselves for heavy snow as well.”

The National Weather Service has already issued several Winter Storm Watches ahead of the storm. To view the complete listing of as well as access the latest forecasts as they continue to develop, visit the National Weather Service website.

Agency Preparations

Department of Transportation

The State Department of Transportation is prepared to respond with the following assets.

  • 1,613 large snowplows
  • 311 large loaders
  • 179 medium duty plows
  • 52 tow plows
  • 38 snow blowers
  • 20 graders
  • 13 pickup trucks with plows

Thruway Authority

The Thruway Authority has 676 operators and supervisors ready to deploy 244 large snowplows, 94 medium snowplows, 11 tow plows and 61 loaders across the state with more than 123,000 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 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

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 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.

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

Port Authority

The Port Authority urges motorists to use caution during the storm; speed restrictions may be in effect at the bridges as well as along roadways to and from the crossings.  Travelers through the Port Authority’s airports, bus terminal and bus station are encouraged to reach out to carriers and airlines directly for the latest information on delays, cancelations or re-bookings. For the latest information about Port Authority facilities, please check social media, sign up for PA alerts or download one of the PA mobile apps. 

Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Metropolitan Transportation Authority personnel are hard at work to ensure safe, reliable service continues throughout the storm and aftermath.  MTA employees will be poised to spread salt and clear platforms and stairs of snow and ice, keep signals, switches, third rail operating, remove any downed trees that may fall across tracks, and attend to any weather-related challenges during the storm.  Customers are urged to check mta.info for the latest service updates before traveling, and to use extreme caution while navigating the system, especially on outdoor platforms and stairs. Customers should also sign up for real-time service alerts via text or email. These alerts are also available via the MTA’s apps: MYmta, Metro-North Train Time and Long Island Rail Road Train Time.

Safety Tips

Power Outages

To prepare for potential power outages, New Yorkers should:

  • Have a list of emergency numbers readily available.
  • 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 have an electric garage door opener, locate the manual release level and learn how to operate it.
  • Keep your car’s gas tank at least half-full; gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps. If you use your car to re-charge devices, do not keep the car running in a garage, partially enclosed space, or close to a home – this can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Plan to have an alternative cooking source, such as a camp stove or outdoor grill. Follow appropriate safety rules for its use outside the residence.
  • If you are considering a generator for your home, consult an electrician or engineer before purchasing and installing.
  • Have extra blankets, coats, hats, and gloves on hand to keep warm.
  • If you have a computer, back up files and operating systems regularly. Turn off all computers, monitors, and other devices when they are not being used.
  • If you rely on anything that is battery-operated or power dependent such as a medical device, determine a back-up plan. For example, if you have a telephone that requires electricity to work, plan for alternate communication such as a standard telephone handset, cell phone, or radio.
  • Learn about emergency plans in your area, including the location of the closest cooling and warming shelters, by visiting your state’s or local website.
  • If experiencing a power outage, New Yorkers should:
  • Turn off or disconnect major appliances and other equipment, e.g., computers, in case of a momentary power surge that can damage these devices. Keep one light turned on so you know when power returns. Consider using surge protectors wherever you use electronic equipment.
  • Call your utility provider to notify them of the outage and listen to local broadcasts for official information. For a list of utilities in NYS 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 (4) 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.
  • In intense heat, consider going to a movie theater, shopping mall or cooling shelter. If you remain at home, move to the lowest level – cool air falls. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing and drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty.
  • If you are in a tall building, take the stairs and move to the lowest level of the building. If trapped in an elevator, wait for assistance. Do not attempt to force the doors open. Remain patient – there is plenty of air and the interior of the elevator is designed for passenger safety.
  • Remember to provide fresh, cool water for your pets.
  • Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic signals will stop working during an outage, creating traffic congestion and dangerous driving conditions. If you must drive during a blackout, remember to obey the 4-way stop rule at intersections with non-functioning traffic signals.
  • Remember that equipment such as automated teller machines (ATMs) and elevators may not be working.
  • If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location, such as the home of a relative or friend, or a public facility that has heat.

Safe Travel

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.

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 important to drive at slower speeds when approaching patches of them.
  • Make sure your car is stocked with 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.
  • While driving, keep vehicles clear of ice and snow.
  • Plan stops and keep distance between cars.  Always match your speed to the road and weather conditions.

It’s important 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.

For a complete list of weather terms and what to do before, during and after a power outage, visit the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services website.

 

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