Governor declares state of emergency, Columbia, Greene, & 5 other counties

GOVERNOR CUOMO DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY FOR SEVEN COUNTIES AND DEPLOYS 300 MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL GUARD AS LARGE WINTER STORM CONTINUES TO IMPACT NEW YORK

State of Emergency Declared for Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Saratoga and Ulster Counties

National Guard Being Deployed to Counties Under State of Emergency to Assist with Snow Removal and Clean-Up Operations

Capital Region has Already Seen More Than One Foot of Snow, with Possibility of an Additional Eight Inches by Tuesday Morning

35 MPH Speed Limit on Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge and 45 MPH Speed Limit on Portions of New York State Thruway and Other Major State-Owned Highways Remain in Effect

Non-Essential State Employees in Capital Region Directed to Stay Home on Monday

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today declared a State of Emergency in Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Saratoga and Ulster Counties as a large winter storm continues to impact New York. The Governor has also activated 300 members of the National Guard to assist with snow removal and clean-up operations in these seven counties. Already, areas throughout the Capital Region have seen more than 12 inches of snow, with areas in the Central New York, Mohawk Valley, North Country and Mid-Hudson Regions seeing up to eight inches in some areas. As the storm continues throughout Monday and into Tuesday morning, areas in the Capital Region could another eight inches of snow. Given these totals, the Governor announced that non-essential employees in State offices in Albany, Schenectady, Columbia, Greene, Fulton, Montgomery, Washington, Rensselaer, Ulster, Schoharie and Saratoga Counties can stay home from work without having to charge accruals. New Yorkers planning to travel throughout Monday and on Tuesday morning are being urged to continue using extreme caution.

The State Emergency Operations Center remains activated in Enhanced Monitoring Mode and the National Guard continues to be on standby to assist with storm-related operations in the event they are needed. The Governor has also deployed state agency commissioners from DHSES, DOT, Thruway Authority and State Police to regions being hardest hit by the storm to oversee operations.

"As parts of the state continues to face severe winter weather and dangerous driving conditions, I am declaring a State of Emergency in Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Saratoga and Ulster Counties and am deploying 300 members of the National Guard to assist with ongoing operations," Governor Cuomo said. "Our state is no stranger to this type of extreme winter weather and these additional measures will be critical in our efforts to keep all New Yorkers safe throughout the remainder of this storm."

Reduced speed limits remain in effect on a number of state-owned roadways to better protect motorists traveling during the storm. Variable Message Signs have been strategically placed on these highways, letting motorists know of the slower recommended speeds. The Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge currently has an advised speed limit of 35 miles per hour and an advised speed limit of 45 miles per hour remains in effect on the following roads:

  • All State owned Parkways in DOT Region 8 (Hudson Valley) 
  • I-81: PA line to Syracuse
  • Route 17: Binghamton to I-84
  • I-84: Entire length
  • I-86:  from PA line to Binghamton
  • I-88: Binghamton to I-90
  • I-99: Entire length
  • I-684: Entire length
  • I-90: exit 41 to exit 24 (Albany)

·I-87: from exit 24 to exit 15 including the Berkshire spur. The speed restriction in place on the NYS Thruway between exit 29 (Canajoharie) to exit 15 (NJ I-287) including the Berkshire Spur.

While snowplows from Department of Transportation and Thruway remain out in full effect, New York State Troopers have already responded to more than 740 storm-related crashes statewide and assisted 558 disabled vehicles. No fatalities have been reported at this 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. It is also important for motorists 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.

Weather

Since the storm began Sunday morning, the Capital Region has seen the highest snowfall totals with some areas receiving more than 12 inches. Elsewhere, the Central New York, Mohawk Valley, Mid-Hudson, North Country Regions received between four and eight inches of snow, with Western New York and the Finger Lakes receiving between one and four inches. New York and Long Island have seen less than an inch of rain.

Throughout Monday, snow is forecasted to taper off throughout the day in most of the state before picking back up during the late afternoon hours. This last round of precipitation is expected to last into Tuesday morning and is expected to bring up to an additional eight inches of snow to the Capital and portions of the Mohawk Valley Regions; two to six inches to the Mid-Hudson, Finger Lakes, Central New York, and Southern Tier Regions; and one to three inches to the Western New York, North Country, New York City and Long Island Regions.

Numerous winter weather warnings, watches, and advisories issued by the National Weather Service remain in effect throughout the state. For a complete listing of advisories and latest forecasts, visit the National Weather Service website.

Agency Preparations

Department of Transportation

The State Department of Transportation remains ready to respond with 3,517 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 24/7operation 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 maintenance locations 24/7 to perform repairs and keep trucks on the road. Statewide equipment numbers are as follows:

·1592 large plow trucks

·183 medium duty plows

·52 tow plows

·327 large loaders

·39 snow blowers

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

The Port Authority has additional police, personnel and equipment on hand at the airports, tunnels, bridges, the Port Authority Bus Terminal and PATH to maintain operations during the storm. All facilities are currently open, and travelers are encouraged to reach out to bus carriers and airlines directly for the latest information on delays, cancelations and rebookings. For the latest information about Port Authority facilities, please check social media, sign up for PA alerts or download one of the PA mobile apps.

Thruway Authority

The Thruway Authority has 684 supervisors and operators utilizing 220 Large Snow Plows, 110 Medium Snow Plows, 11 Tow Plows and 63 Loaders across the state with more than 123,000 tons of road salt on hand. In addition to its regular fleet, the Thruway Authority has deployed 30 reserve Large Snow Plows to areas forecasted for the heaviest impact which include the Mid-Hudson Valley, Capital Region, and Central New York. Thruway Emergency Operation Centers have been activated and staff are actively monitoring conditions and ready to deploy additional staff and plow trucks as necessary. All maintenance sections impacted by the storm will remain staffed for the duration of the event.

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.

Department of Environmental Conservation

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

Department of Public Service

New York's utilities have approximately 4,500 workers available to engage in damage assessment, response and restoration across New York State. Department of Public Service staff will track the utilities' work throughout the storm event.

New York State Police

The New York State Police has instructed all Troopers to closely monitor conditions for any problems. State Police has deployed additional personnel and patrols to all areas affected by the storm. All four-wheel drive vehicles are in-service and all specialty vehicles, including snowmobiles and utility vehicles, are staged and ready for deployment

Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Police and park personnel are on alert and closely monitoring weather conditions and impacts. Most State Parks are open for winter recreation, but access to some areas may be impacted by the storm. Park visitors should check parks.ny.gov or call ahead for the latest updates regarding park hours, openings and closings.

Safety Tips

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, set of tire chains, battery booster cables, quick energy foods and brightly colored cloth to use as distress flag.
  • If you have a cellphone or other communications device, such as a two-way radio available for your use, keep the battery charged and with you whenever traveling. If you should become stranded, you will be able to call for help, advising rescuers of your location.

The leading cause of death and injuries during winter storms is transportation accidents. Before getting behind the wheel, make sure 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 that snowdrifts can hide smaller children. Always match your speed to the road and weather conditions.

For a complete list of weather terms and preparation ideas before during and after a power outages, visit the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services website at http://www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/safety-info/outage/.

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