Governor Hochul Directs State Agencies to Prepare Emergency Response Assets Ahead of Late-Season Winter Storm
Winter Storm Warnings in Effect Throughout Central New York, Mid-Hudson, Mohawk Valley, North Country and Southern Tier Regions
Higher Elevations to See Heaviest Snowfall with Up to Foot of Snow for Parts of Central NY and Mid-Hudson Regions
Snowfall Rates of 1-2 Inches Per Hour Anticipated Through Tuesday Morning in the North Country
New Yorkers Urged to Prepare for Potential Downed Trees and Power Outages; Use Caution During Tuesday Commute
Governor Kathy Hochul today directed State agencies to prepare emergency response assets as a late-season winter storm system is expected to bring snow and rain to several parts of the state beginning Monday evening and continuing through Wednesday morning. Winter Storm Warnings for heavy snow are currently in effect across areas with higher elevations in the Central New York, Mid-Hudson, Mohawk Valley, North Country and Southern Tier regions, which includes the Catskills. These areas are expected to see the heaviest snowfall with up to a foot of heavy, wet snow expected in parts of Central New York and the Mid-Hudson regions, as well as potential snowfall rates of 1-2 inches per hour in the North Country. Given the potential impacts of this system, New Yorkers should prepare for potential downed tree limbs and power outages in the areas of the heaviest snowfall, even if surface accumulations are minimal. Governor Hochul is also urging New Yorkers to use caution during the Tuesday morning commute.
“As New Yorkers, we know all too well that Winter can last beyond March, and this week we’re preparing for a storm expected to bring up to a foot of snow in some parts of the state, making for a messy commute on Tuesday,” Governor Hochul said. “State agencies are ready to respond to this late season storm system and we are urging New Yorkers to keep an eye on the forecast for local impacts and take precautions if traveling on Tuesday.”
Parts of Central New York and the Mid-Hudson regions are expected to see up to a foot of snow by Wednesday morning. The Mohawk Valley Region could see up to seven inches of snow, and a general 2-5 inches of snow is expected for parts of the North Country, the Southern Tier and Western New York. The Capital Region and Finger Lakes regions are expected to receive two inches or less of snow, and the New York City and Long Island regions are expected to receive a few inches of rain from the weather system. Downed tree limbs and power outages are possible in regions of heaviest snowfall, even if surface accumulations are minimal.
Multiple weather warnings, watches, and advisories have been issued across the state in advance of the winter weather system. For a complete listing of weather alerts and forecasts, visit the National Weather Service website at https://alerts.weather.gov.
New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, “Although we’re more than halfway through April, snow is never out of the question in upstate New York. Our teams are fully prepared to handle this storm and will work with our local partners to make sure they have all the resources and support they need. While this storm isn’t anything new for New Yorkers, we should all remain vigilant over the next 24 hours, check your local forecast, leave plenty of room Tuesday morning if you are traveling, and remember to check on friends and loved ones.”
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Emergency Operations Center will monitor weather and travel conditions and communicate with local governments ahead of and during the event. The State’s 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 preparing to respond with 3,428 supervisors and operators available statewide. Staff can be configured into any type of response crew that is needed (plow, drainage, chipper, load & haul, cut & toss, etc.) Additionally, 75 Incident Command System personnel are available to support the response as needed. The need for additional resources, including operators, trucks, mechanics and equipment operator instructors, will be re-evaluated as conditions warrant throughout the event.
All affected residency locations will remain staffed for 24/7 operations throughout the duration of the event and priority cleanup operations. All available snow and ice equipment is ready to deploy. Fleet mechanics in affected areas will be staffing all main residency locations 24/7 to perform repairs and keep trucks on the road. Statewide equipment numbers are as follows:
- 1,705 large & medium duty plow trucks
- 48 tow plows
- 316 loaders
- 13 bucket trucks
- 72 chippers
- 32 traffic signal trucks
Traffic Management Centers in affected Regions will be posting weather-related messages on variable message signs that will be used to support real time incidents and potential vehicle restrictions (if necessary).
For up-to-date travel information, call 511, visit www.511NY.org or download the free 511NY mobile app.
The Thruway Authority is ready to respond with 641 operators and supervisors available. Statewide equipment numbers and resources are listed below:
- 356 large & medium duty plow trucks
- 9 tow plows
- 67 loaders
- More than 113,000 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.
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 impacted by severe weather. All available assets, including sawyers, are positioned to assist with any emergency response.
DEC is advising backcountry users to be aware of and prepared for avalanche conditions due to weather that could increase the risk of avalanches on slides or steep, open terrain. More information is available 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. 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 Public Service
New York’s utilities have approximately 6,750 workers available to engage in damage assessment, response, repair and restoration efforts across New York State. Agency staff will track utilities’ work throughout the event and ensure utilities shift appropriate staffing to regions experiencing the greatest impacts.
New York State Police
State Police will be closely monitoring conditions and will be 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.
New York Power Authority / Canal Corporation
The New York Power Authority and the Canal Corporation staff are performing preparations to ensure all facilities, assets and equipment are secured and ready. The Power Authority is prepared to support power restoration activities if needed.
The leading cause of death and injuries during winter storms are transportation-related crashes. 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.
For more safety tips, please visit the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services website at https://www.dhses.ny.gov/safety.