State Resources Ready, Travel Disruptions Expected
NEW YORK STATE (December 8, 2014) – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has encouraged motorists to use caution in anticipation of another winter storm, which could make travel difficult starting tomorrow through mid-week. The powerful storm is expected to track from the coast northward, bringing rain with possible flooding to the Hudson Valley and areas south, and a wintry mix and snow across the rest of the state, with up to a foot or more of snow possible in the Adirondacks.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for most of upstate New York. Flood watches and advisories are posted for the Lower Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island, where damaging winds could cause power outages. Precipitation will begin in the Hudson Valley around Poughkeepsie at 4:00 AM Tuesday morning. The band of weather will move northwest and reach Albany around 7:00 a.m. as well as areas in the Southern Tier and Central New York around then and continue northwest. Areas north and west Albany will begin to see precipitation in the early afternoon, likely sometime before 1:00 p.m.
“I have directed State agencies to ready their resources so we can fight this storm as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Governor Cuomo said. “However, travel may be disrupted during the storm, and I urge people to use caution and plan ahead to stay safe.”
Governor Cuomo has activated the Emergency Operations Center beginning at 8:00 a.m. on December 9th. Representatives from the State Police, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Office of Fire Prevention and Control, Division of Military and Naval Affairs, Department of Transportation, Thruway, Department of Environmental Conservation, Public Service Commission and Information Technology Services will be reporting.
The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) has 1,444 snow plows and 3,629 operators and supervisors available for this storm, along with 400,000 tons of road salt. NYSDOT is deploying 42 plows and 92 operators from around the state to assist the Hudson Valley, Capital Region, and the Southern Tier/Catskills with the storm.
The New York State Thruway Authority has a total of 345 large and medium sized snow plows, 555 snow plow operators and 116,000 tons of salt available across New York state for storm response and recovery efforts. Thruway is deploying at least 12 heavy plows and 24 operators from the lower Hudson Valley to the Syracuse area, and will deploy more equipment as conditions allow.
The New York utilities have begun advance preparations for the upcoming snowstorm and held a call today with the North Atlantic Mutual Assistance Group to discuss storm preparation and deploying extra resources to have on hand. Central Hudson is already bringing in an additional 110 line workers to assist and New York State Electric and Gas Corporation is bringing in 20 additional line workers. Statewide, there are 2,200 company line workers and 350 contractor line workers. State Department of Public Service staff contacted each of the utilities to review the preparation activities underway.
In addition to preparing for potential electrical outages, all of the utilities in the storm’s path have been preparing for potential flooding issues. Such preparation includes double checking equipment inventories on bucket trucks, checking staffing levels (e.g., wire guards and damage surveyors), and closely monitoring weather conditions.
The New York State Public Service Commission will extend its call center helpline hours on Tuesday, December 9 until 7:30 p.m., and continue the following days from 7:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. as needed, to assist consumers in storm preparation and response efforts. The helpline number is 1-800-342-3377.
Public Service Commission staff will continue to monitor the utilities’ efforts throughout the storm and during the restoration period. The utilities are prepared to respond to power disruptions throughout the event.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has cleared trash, leaves and debris from the right of way along the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and the New York City Subway system in order to ensure stormwater can drain quickly. New York City Transit has dispatched additional cleaning crews to respond to track areas, and the railroads have crews on standby ready to clear any fallen trees or other debris that fall on tracks as a result of rain or wind. Subway crews with chain saws will deploy in strategic locations for outdoor portions of the system, and will prepare work trains to haul away any fallen trees. Pump trains will be staffed and ready for deployment if needed.
Metro-North will have electrical crews at the ready in the event of damage to overhead wires from trees falling in high winds, and extra crews will be stationed at Pelham to assist in the event of any trains running into problems changing between overhead wires and third rail power. On the Harlem and Hudson Lines, where there is a greater potential for snow and freezing rain north of I-287, platforms will be pre-salted today. If conditions warrant in the morning, Metro-North has readied de-icing third rail shoes.
Governor Cuomo urged New Yorkers to plan ahead by stocking supplies such as flashlights, batteries, food and water in the event power outages or hazardous weather prevents the public from leaving their homes. Additionally, if travel is necessary, prepare vehicles with supplies such as a shovel, warm clothing, blankets, a flashlight, batteries and booster cables. A full list of emergency supplies for homes and vehicles, as well as additional safety tips can be found here.
New York State provides a travel advisory system that features real-time travel reports and road conditions, which can be accessed by dialing 511, online at www.511ny.org, or via a downloadable smart phone app. 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. It also provides link to airport, rail and transit information.
The New York State Thruway Authority encourages motorists to sign up for TRANSalert e-mails which provide the latest traffic conditions along the Thruway. Motorists can sign up for TRANSalerts by following this link:
http://www.thruway.ny.gov/tas/index.shtml. Thruway travelers can also get real-time updates by following @ThruwayTraffic on Twitter or by visiting http://www.thruway.ny.gov to see an interactive map showing traffic conditions for the Thruway and other New York State roadways.