New York / Long Island, NY - January 22, 2017 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today urged New Yorkers to prepare for a coastal storm which will impact most of New York State, especially New York City and Long Island. Heavy rain, snow, sleet and freezing rain along with strong gusting winds are forecast with the biggest impacts forecast for downstate with high winds and the potential for coastal shoreline flooding.
“As this storm could cause power outages across downstate and flooding for communities near the coastline, I am directing all relevant state agencies to be on alert and ready to respond to whatever Mother Nature throws our way,” said Governor Cuomo. “We will be closely monitoring storm conditions and deploying resources and equipment as necessary. I encourage all New Yorkers in these areas to plan ahead, avoid unnecessary travel, and above all else – stay safe.”
Lower Hudson Valley, NYC & Long Island Area
Heavy rain should move into the area Monday morning with the heaviest rain falling Monday evening. One to three inches of rain is likely, but three to four inches is possible. Minor urban flooding should be expected with the likely rainfall totals, but more serious urban and small stream flooding is possible with rainfall amounts over four inches. Coastal flooding will likely be minor for multiple high tide cycles Monday into Tuesday morning. If the surges coincide with the heaviest rain and strongest wind, moderate coastal flooding could occur. Widespread dune erosion and localized wash overs are possible along the Atlantic Ocean coast. Sea levels may be between 16 and 22 feet on the ocean and 6 to 12 feet on the sound. Strong winds are expected throughout Monday with winds between 30 and 40 mph with gusts as high at 60 mph and 70 mph on the Island. There is a high wind warning in effect for New York City and Long Island. A coastal flood watch/advisory is in effect for the western Long Island, Long Island coastline, and portions of NY Harbor.
Central and Northern New York
A major winter storm could affect a large part of central and northern New York. The potential exists for heavy wet snow which could accumulate enough to produce power outages and very difficult travel conditions Monday afternoon and night. Accumulations of 3 to 7 inches are possible depending on location, mainly in higher elevations. High winds could also exacerbate power outages as the storm moves through the region.
State Agency Preparations
The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Office of Emergency Management is coordinating preparations and resource allocations with state agencies and local governments in anticipation of the storm. The State Emergency Operations and Watch Centers will be staffed for enhanced monitoring through the day tomorrow. The stockpile in Guilderland, Albany County is prepared with two High Axle Vehicles, each equipped with an inflatable raft, adult and child Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs), blankets, hand tools and foldable ladders, four zodiac style boats with outboards on 2 trailers, spare PFDs, spare outboards on two trailers; several PWC on trailers; three enclosed and tracked Utility Tracked Vehicles, and one tracked Sport Utility Vehicle. The Brentwood stockpile in Nassau County has staged two High Axle Vehicles each equipped with an inflatable raft, adult and child Personal Flotation Devices, blankets, hand tools and foldable ladders and the Brentwood & JFK Stockpiles each have one Sandbagger and there are 195,000 sandbags; various generators, light towers and pumps ready to deploy if necessary.
The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has 29 park police, nine 4x4 vehicles, and nine ATVs on Long Island and New York City. State Park personnel and New York State Park Police continue to monitor the storm and continue to prepare and test equipment in anticipation for the mix of weather conditions that are expected throughout the state. State Park Regions in the downstate area (LI, NYC, Taconic and Palisades) are securing facilities against high winds and heavy rainfall, ensuring drainages are clear and (Palisades Park) maintaining lowered lake levels in preparation for increased runoff. Specific to the Long Island State Park Region where we expect the greatest impact: facilities, are being secured for strong winds, heavy rains and storm surge. Equipment is being prepped and moved to higher elevations as appropriate. Also, LI Parks are preparing for possible staging of PSE&G equipment at some facilities if necessary.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation are readying downstate regions for coastal flooding and has prepared assets in the region that consist of 77 4x4 utility vehicles, 13 ATVs, 4 snowmobiles, and 25 boats in the water and on trailers that range in size form 16 feet to 44 feet and are ready for deployment if necessary.
The New York State Thruway Authority has 129 operators ready to deploy 44 Large Snow Plows, 40 Medium Snow Plows and 10 Loaders in the region. The Thruway Authority has more than 26,908 tons of road salt on hand in the lower Hudson Valley. Additional resources from other regions of the state are ready for reallocation as necessary.
The following measures have been taken for downstate bridges:
New New York Bridge (NNYB) Wind Storm Preparation
- All project related cranes, barges, equipment, and material have been secured
- Tug Boat patrol are in effect in the Hudson River near the New New York Bridge and the Tappan Zee with a second patrol available if needed
- Mooring equipment and material barges have been moved away from bridge structures
- Activate additional GPS Geo-Fence boundary limits to increase tracking of barges.
Tappan Zee Bridge Wind Storm Preparations
- Wind speeds being monitored by TZB Personnel
- Will implement TZB High Wind Restrictions for Tractor Trailers based on wind speeds as detected by electronic monitors on the Bridge
- Wrecker tow truck crews are on standby to address any accidents / disabled vehicles
- Vehicular diversion plans are in place if needed
Motorists are encouraged to sign up for TRANSalerts e-mails, which provide the latest traffic conditions along the Thruway. Thruway travelers can also get real-time updates by following @ThruwayTraffic on Twitter or by visiting thruway.ny.gov to see an interactive map showing traffic conditions for the Thruway and other New York State roadways.
The New York State Department of Transportation has more than 3,820 operators and supervisors throughout the state and are ready to respond with 1,487 large plow/dump trucks, 210 medium plow/dump trucks, 343 loaders, 45 truck/loader mounted snow blowers, 61 tow plows, 14 pickup trucks with plows. The Department of Transportation also has more than 430,000 tons of road salt on hand. To address the potential of high winds and coastal flooding on Long Island and the Hudson Valley, the Department also has 15 vacuum trucks with sewer jets, 77 chippers, 12 tree crew Bucket Trucks, 13 large water pumps, and 56 traffic signal trucks.
Motorists are reminded to check 511NY by calling 511 or by accessing www.511ny.org before traveling. The free service allows users to check road conditions and transit information. Mobile users can download the updated, free 511NY mobile app from the iTunes or Google Play stores. The app now features Drive mode, which provides audible alerts along a chosen route while a user is driving, warning them about incidents and construction. Users can set a destination prior to departing and receive information on up to three routes.
All New Yorkers can obtain emergency information through NY-ALERT, the State’s free, all-hazards, web-based alert and notification system. To subscribe, visit nyalert.gov. If you do not own or have access to a computer, call toll-free 1-888-697-6972 or download the app on your smartphone at ialertz.com.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Bridges & Tunnels (B&T) has inspected roadway surfaces and drainage systems at all MTA bridges and tunnels. All Emergency supplies - facility generators, fuel, hand held anemometers have been checked. Construction zones have been checked and equipment and work areas are secured. These construction areas will also be monitored closely during the storm.
METRO-NORTH has ordered extra buses as a precaution to deploy at the following locations: Wassaic, Danbury, South Norwalk and Waterbury.
LIRR is deploying extra staff to deal with potential any track and power issues.
New York City Transit (NYCT) is deploying pump trains and inspecting and clearing any potential problem area drains. Also have debris trains ready for quick response to downed trees. Approximately 1,000 extra maintenance personnel are being deployed to terminal inter-locking and yards for Monday morning service.
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has made extensive preparations for personnel and equipment at all of its facilities. Operations are in place to ensure that facilities can be operated safely. The airports, bridges, tunnels and PATH also have weather desks where key personnel analyze weather reports and deploy staff and equipment.
The Port Authority also is in contact with other local, state and federal officials and agencies to discuss regional preparations for the upcoming storm.
Depending on the severity of the airlines may cancel flights in advance, so travelers should check with their carriers to make sure their flight will be taking off before going to the airport. The Port Authority also will have supplies of cots and other essential items ready to accommodate passengers who may become stranded at the airports.
The Port Authority also urges bus travelers to check with their carriers before going to the bus terminals since many public and private carriers may cancel service if conditions warrant. The agency also may impose speed restrictions on its crossings, or close them entirely, if weather conditions warrant.
For up-to-the-minute updates on Port Authority crossings, airports and the PATH system, travelers are encouraged to sign up for Port Authority alerts at http://www.paalerts.com/. Travelers may also call 511 or visit 511NY.org or 511NJ.org for further information on highway conditions.
Act Now To Be Prepared for Coastal Flooding
- Learn the safest route from your home or business to high, safe ground should you have to leave in a hurry.
- Develop and practice a 'family escape' plan and identify a meeting place if family members become separated.
- Make an itemized list of all valuables including furnishings, clothing and other personal property. Keep the list in a safe place.
- Stockpile emergency supplies of canned food, medicine and first aid supplies and drinking water. Store drinking water in clean, closed containers.
- Plan what to do with your pets.
- Have a portable radio, flashlights, extra batteries and emergency cooking equipment available.
- Keep your automobile fueled. If electric power is cut off, gasoline stations may not be able to pump fuel for several days. Have a small disaster supply kit in the trunk of your car.
- Find out how many feet your property is above and below possible flood levels. When predicted flood levels are broadcast, you can determine if you may be flooded.
- Keep materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber handy for emergency water-proofing.
It is important for motorists on all roads to note that snowplows travel at speeds up to 35 miles per hour, 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 winter driving include:
- When winter storms strike, do not drive unless necessary.
- 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.
- 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.
Winterize Your Vehicle
Preparing your vehicle for the winter season now will help ensure your vehicle is in good working order when you need it most
Have a mechanic check the following items on your vehicle:
o Wipers and windshield washer fluid
o Ignition system
o Exhaust system
o Flashing hazard lights
o Oil level
- Install good winter tires. Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. You may also want to carry a set of tire chains in your vehicle for heavy snow conditions.
- Keep a windshield scraper and small broom for ice and snow removal and maintain at least a half tank of gas throughout the winter season.
- Finally, plan long trips carefully. Listen to the local media report or call law enforcement agencies for the latest road conditions.
The leading cause of death and injuries during winter storms is transportation accidents.
- Before getting behind the wheel this winter season, every driver could learn a lesson from our school bus drivers. It is elementary, but we have to keep our vehicles clear of ice and snow. Good vision is a key to good driving.
- Plan your stops and keep more distance between cars. Be extra alert. Remember, snowdrifts can hide smaller children. Moreover, always match your speed to the road and weather conditions.