Governor Cuomo Urges New Yorkers to Prepare For Potential Flash Flooding Downstate as Coastal Storm System Approaches

Heavy Rain and Snow to Create Difficult Driving Conditions During Monday Evening and Tuesday Morning Commutes.

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Photo by: andrewtheshrew

New York, NY - November 26, 2018 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today urged New Yorkers to travel with caution as a coastal storm system is expected to bring rain and snow across the majority of the state. Rain is forecasted for the majority of the state, while areas with higher elevations in the North Country may see moderate to heavy snowfall. In the Mid-Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island regions, New Yorkers can expect heavy rainfall throughout the day, especially during this evening's commute. Flash flood watches will be in effect from 12 p.m. Monday through this evening for the downstate region due to the heavy rain. Coastal flood warnings will be in effect from 12 p.m. today until 3 p.m. and from Midnight tonight to 4 a.m. Tuesday for the vulnerable coastal localities along the western Long Island Sound. Coastal flood advisories during high tides will also be in effect today and tonight for the shores of Suffolk County, Staten Island and Manhattan. With the potential for flooding downstate and for snow accumulations upstate, drivers are being urged to travel with extreme caution and prepare for the possibility of difficult road conditions.
"Mother Nature has once again brought a heavy storm system to New York, with possibilities for heavy snow upstate and flash flooding downstate that could create dangerous driving conditions," Governor Cuomo said. "Our state agencies and emergency managers are prepared to deploy resources to communities as needed, and I encourage all New Yorkers to plan ahead and stay informed as the storm progresses."
In addition to the heavy rains forecasted for the downstate regions, lake effect snow is also expected upstate. Heavy snow is possible at times with accumulations between two to five inches for most regions of upstate and between six to 18 inches in the typical lake effect band areas of the Chautauqua Ridge and Tug Hill Plateau. The snow will fall over a 48-hour period.
A winter storm warning is in effect from 7 p.m. this evening to 7 p.m. Tuesday for Essex, Clinton, Hamilton, Herkimer and Warren Counties. Heavy snow is expected with total accumulations of four to eight inches mainly in areas of higher elevations. Winter advisories are also in effect from 7 p.m. this evening to 7 p.m. Tuesday for St. Lawrence, Franklin and Essex Counties in the North Country, with snow accumulations of three to six inches expected.
For a complete listing of weather watches, warnings, advisories and latest forecasts, visit the National Weather Service website.
Safe Travel
If traveling during heavy rain, please drive with care and keep these safety tips in mind:
  • DO NOT attempt to drive over a flooded road. Turn around and go another way.
  • DO NOT underestimate the destructive power of fast-moving water. Two feet of fast-moving flood water will float your car. Water moving at two m.p.h. can sweep cars off a road or bridge.
  • Leave early to avoid being marooned on flooded roads.
  • Follow recommended routes. DO NOT ignore emergency detours to view flooded areas.
  • As you travel, monitor NOAA Weather Radio and local radio broadcasts for the latest information.
  • Watch for washed-out roads, earth-slides, broken water or sewer mains, loose or downed electrical wires, and falling or fallen objects.
  • Watch for areas where rivers or streams may suddenly rise and flood, such as highway dips, bridges, and low areas.
  • If you are in your car and water begins to rise rapidly around you, abandon the vehicle immediately. 
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.
  • If you must travel, make sure your car is stocked with survival gear like blankets, a shovel, flashlight and extra batteries, extra warm clothing, a set of tire chains, battery booster cables, quick energy foods and brightly colored cloth to use as a distress flag.
  • Do not attempt to drive over flooded roads; turn around and go another way. Water moving at two m.p.h. can sweep cars off a road or bridge.
Additionally, the leading cause of death and injuries during winter storms is transportation accidents. Before getting behind the wheel, ensure 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, snowdrifts can hide smaller children. Moreover, always match your speed to the road and weather conditions.
It's 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. 
Agency Preparations
The State Department of Transportation responds to storms with nearly 1,600 large dump trucks, over 175 medium duty plows, 14 vacuum trucks with sewer jets and hundreds of other pieces of equipment, including snow blowers, smaller plow trucks, loaders and graders. This equipment, as well as more than 3,500 operators and supervisors, are deployed across the state as necessary in advance of winter storms to help keep roads safe.
Motorists are reminded to check 511NY before traveling at or by downloading the mobile app. The free service allows users to check road conditions and features a winter travel advisory system with real-time travel reports and a color-coded map indicating which state roads are clear, wet or snow covered. The system provides motorists with a helpful resource to determine if travel is advisable.
The Thruway Authority has 632 supervisors and operators ready to deploy 240 Large Snow Plows, 123 Medium Snow Plows, 10 Tow Plows and 53 Loaders across the state with more than 115,000 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 is also encouraging 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