Governor Cuomo Directs State Agencies to Prepare Response Resources as Heavy Lake Effect Snow Forecast to Impact North Country and Western New York Through Friday Night
Total Snow Accumulations Up To A Foot Expected in the North Country and Western New York Regions
Snowfall Rates Up to Two Inches Per Hour Could Cause Dangerous Travel Conditions
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed state agencies to prepare emergency response resources as a storm system is expected to produce a foot or more of lake effect snow in the Tug Hill area of the North Country and portions of Western New York today through Friday evening. Snowfall rates from 1 to 2 inches per hour are possible in these areas starting this evening, causing difficult and rapidly changing travel conditions, including slippery surfaces and limited visibilities. New Yorkers are being urged to use caution when traveling, keep a close eye on updated weather forecasts and obey all local emergency orders.
“New Yorkers are no strangers to winter weather, especially lake effect snow, and we are fully prepared to handle whatever Mother Nature throws our way,” Governor Cuomo said. “State agencies have emergency response assets and personnel ready to go and are prepared to assist any of our local partners throughout the duration of the storm. While this system is welcome news for many snow and winter sports enthusiasts, I urge anyone traveling in these areas to be safe and exercise extra caution tonight and tomorrow as snowfall rates may exceed an inch per hour.”
Starting later today, the rate of snowfall in Tug Hill is expected to fall at 1 to 2 inches per hour for a period of time. Total snow accumulation is expected to exceed one foot in the Tug Hill area, while higher elevations in Herkimer, Hamilton and Oneida counties could receive up to 8 inches of snow. Accumulations between 6 and 8 inches are forecast in the western part of the state in the hills of southern Erie and Wyoming counties as well as the higher elevations of Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. Areas in Central New York and the Southern Tier could receive 1 to 2 inches of snow.
For a complete listing of weather watches and warnings in your area, visit your area’s National Weather Service website.
Department of Transportation
The Department of Transportation is prepared to respond with 3,642 supervisors and operators. Statewide assets are as follows:
- 1,612 large plow trucks
- 177 medium duty trucks with plows
- 317 large loaders
- 11 pickups with trucks
- 40 snowblowers
- 52 tow plows
- 31 tracked excavators
- 42 wheeled excavators
- 15 tree crew bucket trucks
- 35 traffic signal trucks
- 79 chippers, 10″ (min) capacity
The Thruway Authority has 692 operators and supervisors ready to respond with 245 large snowplows, 103 medium snowplows, 10 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 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 ready 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.
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 and Utility Task Vehicles, are staged and ready for immediate response. All Troop emergency power and communications equipment has been tested.
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.