Albany, NY - March 9, 2017 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today urged New Yorkers living in the New York City metropolitan area to use caution during the Friday morning commute due to snow and high winds. A weather system moving across the state will bring cold and blustery winter weather to the Mid-Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island regions late tonight and during Friday’s morning commute.
Forecasts call for the Mid-Hudson Valley region to receive two to five inches of snow with 14 mph winds, the New York City area to receive two to four inches of snow with blustery winds 16 to 20 mph, and Long Island to receive two to six inches of snow with winds in the 15 to 18 mph range at the height of the storm.
"New Yorkers across the downstate region should be prepared for snow and high winds late tonight and throughout tomorrow’s morning commute," Governor Cuomo said. "We are taking action to prepare for this storm and will be deploying state resources to ensure we’re keeping roads open and mitigating the impact on residents and visitors. I urge everyone in the affected regions to drive safely and take appropriate precautions ahead of the storm."
At the Governor’s direction, the ýstate Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, State Police, the Department of Transportation and the Thruway Authority have already begun to plan accordingly for weather conditions. In addition, the New York State Emergency Operations Center is in contact with local emergency management offices in the affected regions and will monitor the snow storms today through the weekend.
Department of Transportation
The New York State Department of Transportation has 3,847 operators and supervisors statewide and is ready to respond with 1,479 large plow/dump trucks, 200 medium plow/dump trucks, 324 loaders, 42 truck/loader mounted snow blowers, 61 tow plows, 20 graders and 15 pickup trucks with plows. The Department of Transportation also has more than 443,000 tons of road salt on hand.
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.
The Thruway Authority’s winter weather preparations include a 24-hour staff rotation for maintenance personnel, snow removal equipment ready for deployment, and ample salt and fuel supplies to keep the roadways clear and safe. The New York State Thruway Authority has more than 600 supervisors and operators ready to deploy 200 Large Snow Plows, 107 Medium Snow Plows and 54 Loaders across the region with more than 112,650 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 New York State Thruway Authority encourages motorists to sign up for TRANSalert e-mails, which provide the latest traffic conditions along the Thruway. Motorists can sign up for TRANSalerts here. Thruway travelers can also get real-time updates by following @ThruwayTraffic on Twitter or by visiting here to see an interactive map showing traffic conditions for the Thruway and other New York State roadways.
The New York State Police will add additional patrols during the storm to the affected areas as needed. All 4X4 vehicles are available for deployment, and all troop emergency power and communications equipment in the region has been tested.
All residents should have the following items available:
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Battery-powered portable radio or NOAA Weather Radio to receive emergency information. The radio will allow you to listen to weather forecasts, information, and other emergency broadcasts by local authorities
- Seven to ten days’ supply of food. High-energy food, such as dried fruit or candy, and food requiring no cooking or refrigeration is best. Also stock an emergency supply of bottled water. The recommended amount is one gallon per person per day for 7 to 10 days
- A one-week supply of essential medicines and baby items if needed
- First aid kit and supplies
- Extra blankets and sleeping bags
- Fire extinguisher and smoke detector – test regularly to ensure they are working properly
Safety on the Road
Motorists are reminded 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 are urged to take extra precautions to account for the reduced speed and mobility of snowplows.
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.
The leading cause of death and injuries during winter storms is transportation accidents. Before getting behind the wheel this winter season, every driver must keep their 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.
- Always match your speed to the road and weather conditions.