Albany, NY – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today declared a state of emergency across all 62 counties in New York ahead of the extreme winter storm expected to bring heavy snowfall and high winds.
The Governor also directed non-essential state employees impacted by the winter storm to stay home from work on Tuesday without having to charge accruals.
At the Governor’s direction, MTA express subway service will be suspended after the rush hour Tuesday night in order to store trains underground on those tracks. Beginning at 4 a.m. Tuesday, above-ground service on the subway will also be suspended.
Commuters traveling on New York City Transit, Long Island Rail Road and Metro North are encouraged to stay home tomorrow, if possible, as additional service changes are expected. As the state continues to prepare for the storm, New Yorkers should exercise caution, avoid unnecessary travel and pay close attention to winter storm advisories as the day progresses.
“To ensure our local governments have the resources and support they need to prepare and respond quickly to the impending winter storm, I am declaring a statewide state of emergency,” Governor Cuomo said. “With heavy snow and blizzard-like conditions expected from upstate to downstate, we are taking every precaution to keep New Yorkers safe. I urge residents to stay informed, avoid unnecessary travel, and where possible, leave work early as heavy snowfall is expected to begin tonight.”
Snow is expected to cover Upstate New York, where 12 to 24 inches of snow is anticipated in the Western New York, Finger Lakes, and Central New York regions over a 48 hour period beginning Monday night. Areas south of Lake Ontario from Buffalo to Rochester will see periods of snowfall of 2 to 3 inches per hour during parts of the day Tuesday.
The heaviest snow accumulations are expected in the south and east of the Capital Region, the Mohawk Valley, and the Mid-Hudson Valley region where 20 to 24 inches of snow is expected from late Monday night through late Tuesday night and will taper off on Wednesday.
Peak snowfall will fall on Tuesday during the daylight hours and in these areas, the bulk of the snowfall will from between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Travel will be extremely dangerous from high rates of blowing and drifting snow.
The storm has shifted to the west and will have substantial impacts on the New York City areas.
Snow will move into the lower Mid-Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island regions after midnight on Monday. Heavy snow will be begin early Monday evening and will fall at a rate of 2 to 3 inches per hour for the Tuesday morning rush hour.
By the evening commute, there is strong potential for 16 to 20 inches of snow with whiteout conditions throughout the day. Snowfall rates may reach 2 to 4 inches per hour at intermittent periods throughout the day, which will be exacerbated by gusty winds of 40-50 miles per hour in New York City and Long Island.
Highest snow totals will be in the northern parts of New York City, Orange and Putnam counties which will see 20 to 24 inches of snow during the duration of the storm.
Long Island especially areas near Montauk, will see wind gusts up to 60 mph which could take down tree limbs and power lines. Driving will be especially hazardous on Tuesday for both the morning and evening commutes. Minor coastal flooding is also expected during high tide.
• Winter Storm Warnings will go in effect for the Western New York region, Finger Lakes region, Central New York region, Mohawk Valley region, Southern Tier, and northern Capital Region from Monday night through Wednesday night.
• Winter Storm Warnings will go into effect for the upper Mid-Hudson Valley region and the Eastern Long Island region from late Monday night through Tuesday night.
• Winter Storm Warnings will go into effect for the North Country region from Tuesday morning through Wednesday morning.
• Blizzard Warning will go into effect for the lower Capital District region, Mid-Hudson Valley, New York City, and Western Long Island regions from late Monday night through Tuesday night.
• A Coastal Flood Warning will go into effect from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Tuesday along the South Bays of western Long Island and the Atlantic Ocean beachfront.
Governor Directs All Non-Essential State Employees to Stay Home on Tuesday
Due to anticipated weather conditions associated with the extreme winter storm, all non-essential New York State employees in all counties except Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Lewis, Franklin, Clinton and Essex do not have to report to work on Tuesday, March 14 and do not need to charge accruals for such absence. If an agency has any questions, the agency’s designated representative should contact the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations at 518-474-6988.
State Agency Preparations for Nor’easter
Representatives from the following state agencies and emergency response partners have been directed to report to the State Emergency Operation Center for storm preparation and response starting Monday evening:
• Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
• Office of Emergency Management
• Office of Fire Prevention and Control
• Department of Transportation
• New York State Thruway
• State Police
• Department of Public Service
• Division of Military and Naval Affairs
• Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
• Department of Environmental Conservation
• American Red Cross
• Office of Information Technology Services
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services:
In addition to activating the Emergency Operations Center, the Division of Homeland Security’s Office of Emergency Management is communicating with the National Weather Service and is coordinating with local emergency managers across the state. DHSES will pre-position two six-person tracked UTVs and one eight-person tracked vehicle with staff to Brentwood Stockpile on Long Island, with two high-axle vehicles. Also, one high-axle vehicle with two six-person tracked UTVs will be pre-positioned in Mid-Hudson Valley region with personnel and one High Axle with personnel is being deployed to Buffalo. Additional six-person tracked UTVs are on standby for movement to other portions of the state as necessary.
Department of Transportation:
The New York State Department of Transportation has 3,847 operators and supervisors statewide and is ready to respond with 1,600 large plow/dump trucks, 200 medium plow/dump trucks, 324 loaders, 42 truck/loader mounted snow blowers, 61 tow plows, 20 graders and 15 pickup trucks with plows. The DOT also has more than 443,000 tons of road salt on hand. Upstate regions will be providing an additional 176 operators and supervisors, 12 Storm Managers, 30 trucks, and 12 loader/snowblowers to serve Long Island and the Mid-Hudson region for the duration of this storm. The Long Island Expressway will have 100 plows servicing the road – double the normal deployment for a snowstorm. DOT continues to monitor the forecast to ensure that out-of-region resources are being deployed to the areas that are expected to be hardest-hit by the storm.
Motorists are reminded to check 511NY by calling 511, or visiting www.511ny.org before traveling.
The free service allows users to check road conditions and transit information. Mobile users can download the free 511NY mobile app from the iTunes or Google Play stores. The app features Drive mode, which provides audible alerts along a chosen route while a user is driving, warning them about incidents and construction. Users can set a destination prior to departing and receive information on up to three routes.
The New York State Thruway Authority’s winter weather preparations include a 24-hour staff rotation for maintenance personnel, snow removal equipment ready for deployment, and ample salt and fuel supplies to keep the roadways clear and safe.
The Thruway Authority has more than 592 supervisors and operators ready to deploy 201 large snow plows, 110 medium snow plows and 54 loaders across the state with more than 114,800 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 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: www.thruway.ny.gov/tas/index.shtml. Thruway travelers can also get real-time updates by following @ThruwayTraffic on Twitter or by visiting www.thruway.ny.gov to see an interactive map showing traffic conditions for the Thruway and other New York State roadways.
The New York State Police will deploy additional patrols for the duration of the storm, and all resources will be available as needed, including 4X4 vehicles, all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles. High-axle vehicles will also be ready for deployment to affected areas as needed.
New York National Guard
The New York National Guard Joint Operations Center is active and monitoring the situation with approximately 2,000 members deployed to specific regions of the state or on standby and available as needed. The New York National Guard has 350 members with 45 vehicles deployed in New York City; 255 members with 38 vehicles deployed in the Hudson Valley; 135 members with 57 vehicles deployed on Long Island; 100 members with 35 vehicles deployed in Capital District; 50 members with 22 vehicles deployed in Central New York; and 255 members with 69 vehicles deployed in Western New York. Additional personnel will staff Joint Task Force Headquarters in New York City, Mid-Hudson and Buffalo Regions. The National Guard is also prepared to respond if needed with personnel and high-axle vehicles on Long Island, in New York City, the Mid-Hudson Valley and other regions of the state.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Check out www.mta.info and https://twitter.com/MTA for updates, including modified emergency schedules. Customers are also strongly encouraged to sign up for the MTA’s various electronic notification systems – including direct email and text message alerts that can be customized for a customer’s specific travel – via www.mymtaalerts.com and through the MTA’s social media accounts.
Express service will stop running after rush hour on Tuesday night. Starting at 4 a.m. on Tuesday, above-ground subway service will be suspended. Please check the Underground Service Map for more details.
Snow-fighting equipment for subways will include more than 2,000 snow melting devices staged along the tracks at crucial track switches and along other infrastructure, including: 1,500 third rail heaters; 80 trains with scraper shoes, which are used on in-service trains to scrape ice off the third rail as a train moves along the tracks; 10 snow throwers, which have precise directional snow throwing equipment with rotating brushes that throw snow up to 300 feet from the track and can remove up to 3,000 tons of snow an hour; 7 de-icer train cars, which are trains equipped with ice scraping shoes that scrape off ice that has accumulated on the third rail. They also use pumping equipment to dispense a stream of nontoxic, biodegradable de-icing fluid to prevent ice buildup on the third rail. If ice is permitted to build up, subway car power pickup equipment will not be able to draw electric current from the third rail and the train will stop; 4 track jet blowers, which use a jet engine to remove accumulated snow from the roadbed. This piece of equipment is used primarily to keep the yards clear.
All previously planned subway maintenance, rehabilitation and construction projects have been cancelled through Tuesday afternoon.
Normal bus service will run on Monday. Bus service is likely to be suspended on Tuesday morning based on local road and blizzard conditions. Until service suspension, all articulated buses are being replaced by standard 40-foot buses.
Bus operations has more than 90 pieces of snow-fighting equipment to supplement the work of municipal agencies. All local buses in service will have tires chained.
LIRR and Metro-North railroads anticipate a normal evening rush hour on Monday night. Both railroads anticipate the likelihood of suspended service on Tuesday as conditions worsen and deep and blowing snow interfere with operations of third rail power, creating the potential to strand trains and customers. Service announcements on Tuesday service will be made before 4:30 a.m.
Metro-North Railroad: https://twitter.com/MetroNorth
Long Island Railroad: https://twitter.com/LIRR
Anti-freeze trains have been deployed throughout the systems to spray de-icer on the third rail along LIRR, where the rail is exposed, in an effort to prevent ice-build-up; non-passenger patrol trains will operate along the right-of-way to prevent snowdrifts from forming on the tracks. At stations, extra personnel have salted and cleared platforms of snow. Waiting rooms are being kept open around the clock on Long Island to provide shelter for customers and selected rooms are kept open at Metro-North stations. Scheduled maintenance work has been canceled during the storm.
Metro-North has approximately 1,500 personnel working specifically on storm preparation and response. Metro-North has more than 270 pieces of storm-fighting equipment on hand, including: 212 snowblowers, 35 pickup truck plows, 3 rail-bound jets, 767,000 pounds of salt.
LIRR has approximately 1,500 personnel working specifically on storm preparation and response and more than 400 pieces of equipment on hand, including: 362 snowblowers, 18 pickup truck plows, 22 front end loaders, 7 rail-bound jets, 800,000 pounds of salt.
BRIDGES AND TUNNELS
Bridges and Tunnels will remain open Monday night. Pedestrian walkways will close once sustained winds reach 40mph; All bridges will close to trucks when sustained winds reach 50mph and all traffic will be barred at 60mph.
Approximately 350 maintenance and operations personnel will be deployed during the storm, including about 270 specifically for snow-fighting. Electronic weather sensors are functional at all facilities to monitor weather and roadway conditions in real time. There are more than 9,000 tons of roadway de-icer on hand and more than 100 pieces of storm fighting equipment including trucks and plows are ready.
Paratransit service will be suspended – other than extreme emergencies – starting Tuesday morning at 5 a.m.
New York City Transit has also coordinated a procedure with New York City first responders and the Office of Emergency Management for rescuing customers on immobilized vehicles or those who develop medical needs during storms.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is making extensive preparations involving personnel and equipment at all of its facilities in expectation of the strong winter storm currently forecast to begin Monday night through Tuesday. The agency’s Office of Emergency Management is in contact with other local, state and federal officials and agencies and will develop regional preparations for the upcoming storm in consultation with them.
The Port Authority’s Office of Emergency Management will open its Emergency Operation Center beginning at 9 p.m. tonight. It is staffed by key agency decision makers from all of the major facilities and will remain open throughout the duration of the storm.
The following equipment and supplies are available at the Port Authority’s major transportation facilities in the event of a major storm:
• Hundreds of pieces of snow equipment at the airports, including melters able to liquefy up to 500 tons of snow an hour and plows that can clear snow at 40 mph, and dozens of pieces of snow equipment at PA bridges and tunnels;
• Thousands of tons of salt and sand for airport roads, parking lots, bridges and tunnels;
• Hundreds of thousands of gallons of liquid chemicals at the airports to prevent snow and ice from bonding to runways and taxiways; thousands of tons of solid de-icers that break up snow and ice already on the ground; and
• Plow-equipped trains and snow-melting materials to clear the agency’s PATH station tracks and facilities.
There will be extensive flight cancellations on Tuesday at LGA and JFK; travelers are encouraged to check with their carriers; departing passengers should not go to LGA unless they have a reservation.
For up-to-the-minute updates on Port Authority crossings, airports and the PATH system, travelers are encouraged to sign up for Port Authority alerts at www.paalerts.com. Travelers may also call 511 or visit 511NY.org or 511NJ.org for further information on highway conditions.
Department of Public Service
The Department of Public Service is in contact with utility senior executives to ensure that the utilities are prepared for inclement weather, and it will be closely monitoring utility storm-preparation efforts to ensure that utilities stand ready to minimize outages and speed outage restorations. Electric and gas utilities, as well as telecommunication service providers, such as Verizon, are prepared to bring on additional manpower to minimize service disruptions, if they occur. Utilities are prepared to respond 24 hours a day to power disruptions and are mandated to implement their emergency response plans, when needed, which includes contacting customers on life-support equipment and other critical customers.
In light of the potential inclement weather expected, the Department will expand its Call Center Helpline hours, beginning Tuesday, March 14 from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., to assist consumers in storm response and restoration efforts, and Wednesday, March 15, if needed. The Department’s Call Center Helpline can be reached by calling (800) 342-3377. Department staff will monitor and report on storm impacts and utility restoration activities throughout the event and will be present in the field, as needed.
How to Contact Your Utility:
• Central Hudson: (845) 452-2700 or (800) 527-2714, or go to www.centralhudson.com
• Con Edison: (800) 75-CONED (800-752-6633), or go to www.coned.com
• PSEG-Long Island: (800) 490-0075, or go to www.psegliny.com
• National Grid (upstate electric): (800) 867-5222, or go to www.nationalgridus.com
• National Grid (upstate gas): (800) 642-4272, or go to www.nationalgridus.com
• National Grid (metro area gas): (718) 643-4050, or go to www.nationalgridus.com
• National Grid (Long Island gas): (800) 490-0045, or go to www.nationalgridus.com
• NYSEG (electric): (800) 572-1131, or go to www.nyseg.com
• NYSEG (gas): (800) 572-1121, or go to www.nyseg.com
• Orange & Rockland: (877) 434-4100, or go towww.oru.com
• Rochester Gas & Electric (electric): (800) 743-1701, or go to www.rge.com
• Rochester Gas & Electric (gas): (800) 743-1701, or go to www.rge.com
Department of Environmental Conservation
The State Department of Environmental Conservation is mobilizing Environmental Conservation Officers, Forest Rangers and other staff assets in the Mid-Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island regions, including ATV’s, UTV’s, snowmobiles, and 4×4 trucks available to assist in any necessary response efforts. DEC coastal engineering experts are also ready to assist in monitoring for potential flooding and coastal erosion from the storm. Other public protection and spill response staff are coordinating with other state and local partners to provide additional assistance as needed.
Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
Governor Cuomo also announced the closure of all state parks, historic sites, and DEC-managed facilities located within the impacted areas, including Suffolk, Nassau, New York City, Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, Dutchess, Ulster, Greene, Columbia, Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Montgomery, Saratoga and Washington counties. Park visitors should monitor www.nysparks.com or call their local park office for the latest updates.
All residents should have the following items available:
• Flashlight and extra batteries.
• Battery-powered portable radio or NOAA Weather Radio to receive emergency information.
• Seven to ten days’ supply of food. High-energy food, such as dried fruit or candy, and food requiring no cooking or refrigeration is best. Also stock an emergency supply of bottled water. The recommended amount is one gallon per person per day for 7 to 10 days.
• A one-week supply of essential medicines and baby items.
• First aid kit and supplies.
• Extra blankets and sleeping bags.
• Fire extinguisher and smoke detector – test regularly to ensure they are working properly.
Safety on the Road
When winter storms strike, do not drive unless necessary.
• 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.
• 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.
The leading cause of death and injuries during winter storms is transportation accidents.
• Before getting behind the wheel or your car, clear it of ice and snow. Good vision is a key to good driving.
• Plan your stops and keep more distance between cars. Be extra alert. Remember, snowdrifts can hide smaller children. Moreover, always match your speed to the road and weather conditions.
Trapped in a Car
With blizzard conditions expected, here are some tips to follow:
• Stay in your car and wait for help to find you.
• Run your engine for short periods of time to stay warm. Keep your down-wind window open and make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of snow.
• Turn on the dome light at night when you are running the engine to signal rescuers.
• Hang a brightly colored piece of cloth or piece of clothing from your car.
• Exercise from time to time by vigorously moving arms, legs, fingers and toes to keep blood circulating and to keep warm.