Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today urged New Yorkers to prepare for difficult driving conditions and heavy snow as a cold front is forecasted to impact some areas of the state beginning Monday morning. Travel could be very difficult across northern portions of the Capital Region, and throughout Central New York, the Finger Lakes, the Mohawk Valley, the North Country, and Western New York as snow and cold temperatures will likely impact Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning commutes in these areas. Rapidly dropping temperatures and heavy snowfall – up to almost a foot in some areas – will result in slick, snow-covered roads and treacherous driving conditions. 

Additionally, the eight Disaster Assistance Service Centers established by Governor Cuomo to assist Mohawk Valley and North Country residents in recovering from storm damage will close on Monday, November 11 at 1 p.m. and those scheduled for operation on Tuesday, November 12 will re-open at 12 p.m. This is being done out of an abundance of caution given potentially difficult travel conditions. Governor Cuomo is urging all New Yorkers to practice safe driving, keep a close eye on updated weather forecasts, and obey all local emergency orders. 

“This impending snowstorm could be problematic and cause dangerous conditions across the state, so I urge New Yorkers to be prepared and use caution when driving,” Governor Cuomo said. “State agencies are watching the weather system and stand ready to assist our local partners if needed.”

A cold front will push south across upstate New York starting Sunday evening with light snow across higher elevations. Starting Monday morning, snow will increase in intensity during the day for Western and Central NY, and the Finger Lakes. Snow will become more widespread through Monday night as the front moves across the Mohawk Valley and North Country. Snow will taper off by early Tuesday for Western and Central NY and the Finger Lakes, followed by very cold temperatures and some limited lake effect snow southeast of the lakes through Wednesday. For the Mohawk Valley and the North Country, snow will gradually decline by Wednesday, with even colder temperatures predicted for the middle of the week. Areas north of I-90 could see between 8-12 inches of snow. Those totals will generally decrease the further south with 1-3 inches possible in the New York City area. New Yorkers can view all watches, warnings, and advisories issued by the National Weather Service here.

Agency Preparations

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Emergency Operations Center (State EOC) is currently activated to Level Four status to assist with the coordination of state assets in response to the Halloween 2019 storms upstate. The State EOC will continue to monitor weather conditions and stay in contact with localities throughout the duration of the storm. State Stockpiles are prepared to deploy assets to localities affected by storm-related needs, including pumps, chainsaws, sandbags, and bottled water.

Department of Transportation

The State Department of Transportation is ready to respond with 3,450 supervisors and operators available. Regional crews are currently engaged in snow and ice preparations and rain event monitoring. All Residency locations will be staffed for 24/7 operation throughout the duration of the event.  

All available snow and ice equipment is ready to deploy. Fleet mechanics in affected areas will be staffing all main Residency locations 24/7 to perform repairs and keep trucks on the road. Statewide equipment numbers are as follows:

    • 1581 large plow trucks 
    • 182 medium-duty plows 
    • 51 tow plows 
    • 327 large loaders 
    • 39 snowblowers

To support snow and ice activities in critical areas, a total of 16 large dump trucks, eight plow operators, two mechanics, and one mechanic service truck are being deployed. They are distributed as follows:

    • Capital District:
      • Receiving 2 mechanics and 1 service truck from Long Island
      • Mohawk Valley:
        • Receiving 6 large dump trucks from Central NY
          • Receiving 4 large dump trucks from Mid-Hudson Valley
            • Receiving 6 large dump trucks from Southern Tier
            • Mid-Hudson:
              • Receiving 8 plow operators from Long Island

Thruway Authority

The Thruway Authority has 646 supervisors and operators ready to deploy 209 Large Snow Plows, 100 Medium Snow Plows, 10 Tow Plows and 56 Loaders across the state with more than 128,000 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

Division of State Police

All Troopers will closely monitor conditions for any problems. State Police are ready to deploy additional personnel to affected areas as needed. All four-wheel-drive vehicles are in-service and all specialty vehicles, including snowmobiles and utility vehicles, are staged and ready for deployment.

Department of Environmental Conservation

DEC Police Officers, Forest Rangers, Emergency Management staff, and regional staff are on alert and monitoring the developing situation and actively patrolling areas likely to be impacted by the storm. All available assets, including snowmobiles and utility vehicles, are ready to assist with any emergency response.

Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

New York State Park Police and park personnel are on alert and closely monitoring weather conditions and impacts. Response equipment is being fueled, tested and prepared for storm response use. Park visitors should check https://parks.ny.gov or call their local park office for the latest updates regarding park hours, openings and closings.

Safety Tips

  • 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.
  • Make sure your car is stocked with 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.
  • While driving, keep vehicles clear of ice and snow.
  • Plan stops and keep distance between cars. Always match your speed to the road and weather conditions.
  • It’s important to note that snowplows travel at speeds up to 35 mph, 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.

 

For more winter weather safety information, please visit the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services website at http://www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/safety-info.