Gov. Cuomo urges North Country residents to prepare for upcoming storm and use caution when traveling
Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - 6:02 am

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s office is urging locals to prepare for hazardous winter weather and to use caution traveling on Wednesday, especially during the morning and evening commutes.

St. Lawrence County is expected to see three to 10 inches of snow in some areas.

The National Weather Service has issued winter storm advisories, watches and warnings for most of the state through Wednesday night.

At the governor's direction, the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, state police, the Department of Transportation and the Thruway authority have already begun to plan accordingly for weather conditions.

The State's Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services has been in contact with local emergency management offices in every region and will closely monitor the storm as it moves through the state. The state's Emergency Operations Center will activate tomorrow morning at 6 a.m. with Office of Emergency Management Staff in an enhanced monitoring posture. The Division's 10 regional stockpiles have been prepared and are ready to respond to requests for assistance with assets including over 700 generators, over 250 light towers, over 1,200 pumps, approximately 46,000 ready-to-eat meals, approximately 409,000 bottles and cans of water, over 9,600 cots, 12,420 blankets, 13,613 pillows, and over 4,000 flashlights.

All New Yorkers can obtain emergency information through NY-ALERT, the sState's free, all-hazards, web-based alert and notification system. To subscribe, visit nyalert.gov. For those who do not own or have access to a computer, call toll-free 1-888-697-6972.

The New York State Department of Transportation is ready to respond with 1,569 large plow/dump trucks, 190 medium plow/dump trucks, 326 loaders, 37 truck/loader mounted snow blowers, 52 tow plows, 17 graders and 14 pickup trucks with plows. The Department of Transportation also has more than 383,995 tons of road salt on hand.

Motorists can check 511NY by calling 511 or by accessing www.511ny.org before traveling. The free service allows users to check road conditions and transit information. Mobile users can download the updated, free 511NY mobile app from the iTunes or Google Play stores. The app now 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.

Cuomo’s office suggests all residents to have the following available: flashlight and extra batteries; battery-powered portable radio or NOAA weather radio to receive emergency information (the radio will allow people to listen to weather forecasts, information, and other emergency broadcasts by local authorities); seven to 10 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 seven to 10 days); a one-week supply of essential medicines and baby items if needed; first aid kit and supplies; extra blankets and sleeping bags; fire extinguisher and smoke detector - test regularly to ensure they are working properly

Cuomo’s office is reminding drivers that snowplows travel at about 35 miles per hour — which in many cases is lower than the posted speed limit — in order to ensure that salt being dispersed stays in the driving lanes and does not scatter off the roadways.

“The safest place for motorists is well behind the snowplows where the roadway is clear and salted. 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 are urged to take extra precautions to account for the reduced speed and mobility of snowplows,” Cuomo’s office said.

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, Cuomo’s office said.

“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,” according to a news release from the governor’s office.

Other tips for safe winter driving include: Keep the gas tank full to prevent gasoline freeze-up; if a cell phone or two-way radio is available for use, keep the battery charged and keep it with you whenever traveling (if one should become stranded, they will be able to call for help, advising rescuers of their location); people should make sure someone knows their travel plans.