Snowfall Will Make for Slow, Slippery Morning Commute; Drivers Urged to Take Caution.
Abany, NY - March 13, 2018 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today issued a Travel Advisory for portions of New York. The storm will continue throughout today, Tuesday, March 13. The National Weather Service has issued Winter Storm Watches and Warnings for the North Country, Capital Region, Mid-Hudson Region, New York City, and Long Island regions through today.
"I caution all New Yorkers within the path of the storm to stay off the roads unless travel is absolutely necessary," Governor Cuomo said. "Driving conditions during and after the storm will be challenging and we want to ensure that our personnel are able to clear the roads as easily and as quickly as possible."
Snow accumulations will range from 4 to 8 inches on Long Island, with the East End expected to receive between 8 and 12 inches. For New York City, 2 to 4 inches of snow is forecast; however, if the storm shifts west, a moderate or heavier snowfall for the metro area is possible. Winds during the storm will gust up to 40 mph across eastern Long Island with gusts closer to 30 mph across the rest of Long Island. These winds, combined with heavy wet snow, will possibly result in downed tree limbs and power lines.
A Coastal Flood Advisory has been issued for Suffolk and southern Nassau counties. Minor coastal flooding is expected with this morning's high tide cycle, resulting in 1 to 2 feet of water above ground level in vulnerable locations near the waterfront. A Coastal Flood Advisory indicates that onshore winds and tides will combine to generate flooding of low areas along the shore.
New snow accumulation of 3 to 6 inches is expected in the Capital Region with 6 to 8 inches of accumulation possible across the higher terrain areas. The North Country can expect 3 to 6 inches of accumulation with amounts up to 12 inches in the Adirondacks. The Southern Tier is forecast to receive 2 to 5 inches, and Central and Western New York are forecast to receive 1 to 3 inches with the Tug Hill area expected to receive higher amounts.
The Mid-Hudson Region is expected to receive 3 to 6 inches with valley areas on the lower end of this range. A few spots in the Catskills could experience 6 to 8 inches by Tuesday evening. Although the widespread steady snowfall will end Tuesday evening, there will be places that continue to see on and off light snow or snow showers from Tuesday night into Wednesday.
A toll-free hotline for updates on weather, power outage restoration times, and shelters and warming centers in their area. New Yorkers can reach the hotline at 866-697-2434 for assistance. In addition, the State Emergency Operations Center remains activated for enhanced monitoring and will increase operations to include all transportation agencies for the storm.
Sustained winds of 20 to 30 mph are expected in the New York City and Long Island region with higher gusts possible. Traveling will be dangerous due to low visibility and slippery road conditions. Some lingering light snow showers and flurries will continue Wednesday and Thursday, especially for high terrain areas, with daytime temperatures averaging below normal. An updated listing of Weather Watches and Warnings from the National Weather Service can be found here.
State Agency Preparations
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.
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
The Division's Office of Fire Prevention and Control has staff on standby to assist local officials on Long Island if needed with a high-axle vehicle during the duration of the storm. State stockpiles are prepared with over 700 generators, over 250 light towers, approximately 1,250 pumps, almost 1,000,000 sandbags, over 56,300 ready to eat meals, over 340,000 cans of water, over 4,000 flashlights, thousands of cots, blankets, and pillows, almost 1,000 traffic barriers, and over 7,000 feet of Aqua Dam temporary flood barrier. Additionally, the Division is prepared with high-axle vehicles, utility tracked vehicles, and a tracked sport utility vehicle.
Department of Public Service
New York's utilities have a total of 5,400 in-house workers and contractors working on restoration efforts. This includes 1,400 out-of-state line and tree workers from Michigan, Texas, Ohio, Missouri, North Carolina, Louisiana, Iowa, Wisconsin and Canada that will be dedicated to restoration efforts. All customers impacted by the previous winter storm have been restored. All remaining customer outages are associated with individual damage locations that affect a single customer; all those locations have been assigned work crews and will be restored as quickly as possible. PSEG LI and LIRR are working together to ensure a coordinated response to any issues affecting the LIRR.
The Department of Public Service has extended Call Center Helpline hours starting Tuesday, March 13 at 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m., as needed, to assist consumers in their storm restoration efforts. The Department of Public Service Call Center Helpline can be reached by calling 1-800-342-3377. Public Service Commission staff will continue to monitor the utilities' efforts during the restoration period. The utilities are prepared to respond to power disruptions throughout the event.
New York State Thruway Authority
The Thruway Authority encourages motorists to download its mobile app which is available to download 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. During major incidents, the Authority broadcasts information on Highway Advisory Radio and activates Dynamic Message Signs to alert motorists.
Motorists are reminded that State Law mandates that if an intersection is "blacked out" and the traffic signal is not operational, the intersection is automatically a "four way" stop. In the event of closed or blocked roadways due to flooding, downed power lines or debris, motorists are advised to exercise caution and obey all traffic signs or barricades in place, regardless of whether a roadway looks clear.
Motorists are reminded to check 511NY by calling 511 or by accessing http://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.
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
In advance of the storm, the Port Authority has made extensive preparations for personnel and equipment at all its facilities. The agency activated its Emergency Operations Centers at John F. Kennedy International Airport, its overall Emergency Operations Center in Jersey City, Monday evening. The Port Authority has made extensive plans to provide busing in the event that service on AirTrain JFK must be suspended.
As of 10 p.m. Monday, March 12, John F. Kennedy International Airport reported 62 cancellations for Tuesday, which is 5 percent of its daily operations. LaGuardia reported 163 cancellations for Tuesday, which is about 14 percent of its average scheduled operations. Additional flight cancellations are possible later today.
At the tunnels and bridges, the Port Authority urges bus travelers to check with their carriers before going to the bus terminals since many public and private carriers may cancel or delay service if conditions warrant. The bus terminal already has been informed that long haul carriers including Greyhound will cancel service to New England destinations tomorrow. The agency also may impose speed restrictions on its crossings, or close them entirely based on weather conditions. PATH plans to operate regular service on Tuesday.