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HomeEmergencyFebruary 8, 2021 NYS Weather Alert: Preparations for Snow and Hazardous Travel Conditions

February 8, 2021 NYS Weather Alert: Preparations for Snow and Hazardous Travel Conditions

Governor Cuomo Directs State Agencies To Prepare Emergency Assets In Advance Of Snow And Hazardous Travel Conditions Through Tuesday 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed state agencies to prepare emergency response assets as a clipper system is forecast to bring snow and hazardous travel conditions Tuesday morning into Tuesday evening for much of New York State. Locations in the North Country, the Hudson Valley, and higher terrain areas in the Capital Region could see up to six inches of snow, while New York City and much of the rest of the state should see 1 to 3 inches of snow by Tuesday evening.  Travel will likely be affected during the Tuesday morning and evening commutes, especially on untreated surfaces.  Travelers should check their local weather forecast for changing conditions and prepare for slow travel.

“More snow is on the way, and while it won’t be as large as the storms that hit New York last week, it will certainly create some dangerous travel conditions for commuters,” Governor Cuomo said. “State agencies are fully prepared to handle whatever Mother Nature throws our way and I am urging all New Yorkers to use as much caution as they can if they are on the roads. We have some of the nation’s best road crews and emergency responders here in New York and they will get the job done – they just need the room to work.”

A weak clipper system is forecast to move in late this evening and into the morning commute on Tuesday, with snow expected to spread across the region through the afternoon.  Periods of moderate snow are possible for parts of the North Country, Capital Region, Mohawk Valley, Mid-Hudson, Southern Tier and Central New York, with most areas seeing 1 to 3 inches of snow, except for higher terrain areas that could see up to 6 inches of snow by Tuesday night.  On Tuesday afternoon, there is the possibility of mixed rain and snow downstate along coastal locations and possibly a brief changeover to all rain across eastern Long Island. Light snow is likely across the remainder of New York City and Long Island with the possibility of 1 to 3 inches of snow along the coast and 2 to 4 inches of snow elsewhere inland.

For a complete listing of weather watches and warnings in your area, visit your area’s National Weather Service website.

Agency Preparations

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Emergency Operations Center remains activated due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will closely monitor weather conditions, coordinate state response operations and remain in contact with localities throughout the duration of the event.  State stockpiles are prepared to deploy assets to localities to support any storm-related needs, including pumps, chainsaws, sandbags, generators, cots, blankets and bottled water.

Department of Transportation

The State Department of Transportation is prepared to respond with 3,656 supervisors and operators.  Statewide equipment numbers are as follows:

  • 1,601 large plow trucks
  • 176 medium duty plows
  • 11 pickups with plows
  • 52 tow plows
  • 315 large loaders
  • 39 snow blowers

Thruway Authority

The Thruway Authority has 694 operators and supervisors ready to respond with 248 large snowplows, 104 medium snowplows, 11 tow plows and 60 loaders across the state with more than 109,000 tons of road 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 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. Park visitors should check parks.ny.gov or call their local park offices 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 utilities shift the appropriate staffing to the regions anticipated to be impacted the most.

New York Power Authority / Canal Corporation

The New York Power Authority and the Canal Corporation staff has performed preparations for the forecasted weather to ensure all facilities, assets and equipment are secured and ready. The Power Authority is prepared to support power restoration activities if needed.

New York 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.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Metropolitan Transportation Authority is closely monitoring weather conditions to ensure safe, reliable service.  MTA employees will be poised to spread salt and clear platforms and stairs of snow and ice, keep signals, switches, and third rail operating  Customers are encouraged to check new.mta.info for the latest service updates, and to use caution while navigating the system. 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.

Port Authority

The Port Authority is prepared for the storm and urges travelers utilizing all its facilities to use caution. Speed restrictions may be in effect at the bridges as well as along roadways to and from the crossings. Passengers 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 rebookings. 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.  

Safety Tips

Winter Safety

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 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.

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