Albany, NY - December 10, 2013 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today activated the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to monitor the winter storm that is expected to bring moderate to heavy snow to Long Island, New York City, the Tug Hill Plateau and Western New York. The storm is expected to create hazardous driving conditions in the affected areas, and motorists are advised to use extreme caution. Representatives from State agencies are in the EOC to help coordinate the response, including the New York Division of Military and Naval Affairs, the State Police, the Department of Transportation, and the Thruway Authority.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Long Island, New York City and the lower Hudson Valley, where 4-6 inches of snow is expected. Snowfall rates could approach an inch per hour at times and could limit visibility to a half-mile or less.
Lake effect snow warnings are in place for Western New York and the Tug Hill Plateau, and both areas could see 1 to 2 feet of snow over the next 24-48 hours, with more in some locations. Snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches an hour are expected, which will reduce visibility to a quarter mile or less.
“In response to the heavy snowfall anticipated downstate and in Western New York, we have activated the State Emergency Operations Center and deployed hundreds of snow plows and salt trucks in affected regions,” said Governor Cuomo. “I urge drivers to be ready to encounter snow, ice and slush on the roadways and to use caution. I also encourage New Yorkers to check their local broadcasts for weather updates as the snow continues to fall."
The New York State Department of Transportation has more than 700 trucks and nearly 1,000 personnel available in the affected areas to clear snow and treat roads with salt, and has readied 45 large snow blowers to assist with clearing operations in the Watertown region. NYSDOT crews in the Hudson Valley and Long Island were out before the storm pre-treating the roads to help prevent ice and snow buildup on the roads. A regional breakdown of DOT assets is as follows:
- Hudson Valley: 215 plows, 245 operators and supervisors
- Long Island: 190 plows, 335 operators and supervisors
- Buffalo: 176 plows, 243 operators and supervisors
- Watertown: 122 plows, 169 operators and supervisors
The Thruway Authority has 200 plows and 559 operators available system-wide for storm response. A regional breakdown of Thruway Authority assets is as follows:
- NY Division: 45 plows, 132 operators
- Albany Division: 45 plows, 126 operators
- Syracuse Division: 51 plows, 121 operators
- Buffalo Division: 59 plows, 180 operators
Some of the most important tips for safe winter driving include:
- Never follow a snow plow too closely or attempt to pass one. Remember that the highway ahead of the plow is usually snow-covered;
- Adjust speed for road conditions and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles;
- Schedule extra time for winter travel and be patient during ice and snow removal operations;
- Assume that bridge surfaces are slippery, as they freeze more quickly than road surfaces;
- Be wary of black ice, which can be difficult to see but makes conditions slippery when pavement temperatures are below freezing;
- Have a cell phone handy, if possible, but do not text while driving; distracted driving is illegal and becomes even more dangerous during storm events;
- Never venture from your vehicle if snowbound;
- Equip your car with emergency supplies including sand, shovel, flares, booster cables, rope, ice scraper, portable radio, flashlight, blankets and extra warm clothes;
- Inform a responsible person of your destination, intended route, and estimated time of arrival; and
- Keep calm and do not panic in case of a vehicle breakdown, accident, or if you become snowbound.
NYSDOT provides a travel advisory system that features real-time travel reports and can be accessed by phone at 511 or online at www.511ny.org. The Web site features a color-coded map indicating which state roads are snow covered, ice covered, wet, dry, or closed to help travelers determine if travel is advisable. The system provides real-time snow and ice conditions for interstates and other heavily traveled roads, as reported by snowplow operators.
Thruway travelers can find real-time traffic and road condition updates at www.Thruway.ny.gov, can sign up for TRANSAlert emails at www.thruway.ny.gov/tas/index.shtml, or follow @ThruwayTraffic on Twitter. Also for more information and to sign up for free alerts about hazardous travel conditions in your area, go to www.nyalert.gov.
Thruway travelers can also find useful information on the Highway Advisory Radio (HAR) stations which broadcast traffic advisories, road conditions, and safety tips 24-hours-a-day. HAR frequencies can be found at www.thruway.ny.gov/travelers/har/index.html.