Cuomo urges caution as lake effect snowfall returns
Governor Cuomo today urged New Yorkers to prepare for potentially hazardous weather conditions that are forecasted for most of upstate New York beginning late Tuesday night and continuing through the day Thursday across the state. While most of the state is expected to see moderate snowfall, lake effect systems are expected to bring up to one foot of snow to portions of Western New York and the North Country. New Yorkers in these areas should travel with caution over the next 36 hours as driving conditions may grow difficult due to snow covered roads and limited visibility.
“While winter weather is nothing new to most New Yorkers, this incoming storm is expected to bring significant lake effect snow and create potentially difficult travel conditions,” Governor Cuomo said. “I urge New Yorkers to use extra caution while driving and be aware of rapidly changing weather conditions. We are monitoring this storm and are prepared to assist our local partners at a moment’s notice.”
The National Weather Service in Buffalo has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the counties of Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Southern Erie and Wyoming from late tonight through Thursday afternoon. Heavy lake effect snow is possible with total snow accumulations of six to 12 inches possible, with the greatest amounts expected along the Chautauqua Ridge. Winds could gust as high as 40 mph, causing blowing snow and significantly reduced visibility. Hazardous travel conditions will likely impact the morning and evening commute on Thursday.
Winter Weather Advisories also remain in effect for other portions of upstate New York. Snowfall totals will be moderate in the North Country, with the Adirondacks expected to receive seven to 11 inches of accumulation. In the Central New York, Mohawk Valley, Capital and Mid-Hudson Regions, one to three inches of snowfall is expected.
For a complete listing of weather watches and warnings in your area, visit your area’s National Weather Service website.
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 is 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 a distress flag.
If you have a cell phone or other communications device such as a 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.
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.
It is 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.
The State Department of Transportation responds to storms with more than 1,500 large dump trucks, 52 tow plows and hundreds of other pieces of equipment, including snow blowers, smaller plow trucks, loaders and graders. This equipment, as well as more than 3,850 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 https://protect2.fireeye.com/url?k=870fee1f-db29daab-870d172a-000babd9fe9f-49ac07812b0dbe37&u=http://www.511ny.org/ 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 663 supervisors and operators ready to deploy 239 Large Snow Plows, 128 Medium Snow Plows, 11 Tow Plows and 58 Loaders across the state with more than 118,000 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.