Weather service predicts flooding across state for weekend, hazardous weather warning issued for North Country
POTSDAM – The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for the weekend, with flooding expected in areas around the region, including Northern New York and central, northeast, northwest and southern Vermont.
The governor’s office has also issued a flood warning for the state, and various state emergency agencies are being mobilized in anticipation of the weather system.The weather service said a warm front will lift through the North Country this evening bringing periods wintry mix before transitioning to rain. There is some concern that some patchy freezing rain will occur especially over the Northern Adirondacks and Vermont, said the weather service. Additionally, icy conditions could persist even once air temperatures rise above freezing due to very cold surface temperatures.
A fairly significant storm system is expected Friday through Saturday, said the weather service, as low pressure tracks along a cold front. Freezing rain which will transition into snow is expected through the weekend across the state, causing hazardous driving conditions, especially on untreated surfaces with isolated to scattered power outages possible.
The additional concern is that flooding will become an issue Friday and Friday evening, the weather service said. There will be potential for some breakup ice jams to form as the warm air combining with rain could cause some ice movement across local rivers.
Snow melt and rain will cause many rivers and streams to rise, potentially breaking ice layers causing ice jams and localized flooding with water covered roads, especially in low lying areas and urban and poor drainage areas.
In a press release issued Wednesday, Jan. 10, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo urged New Yorkers to take precautions against potential flooding in the wake of the warmer temperatures and freezing rain expected across the state Thursday and Friday.
A variety of state agencies have made preparations around New York in the wake of the coming weather front.
The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services is prepared to respond to requests for assistance with assets from its stockpiles, including 766 generators, 259 light towers, 1,283 pumps, 10 sandbaggers, more than 1,042,451 sandbags, more than 46,700 ready-to-eat meals, almost 70,000 bottles and 348,000 cans of water, over 9,000 cots, approximately 12,000 blankets and pillows, over 4,000 flashlights, 960 traffic barriers, 594 traffic barrels, and over 6,800 feet of aqua dam.
The Thruway Authority has 667 supervisors and operators ready to deploy 245 Large Snow Plows, 113 Medium Snow Plows, 11 Tow Plows and 54 Loaders across the state with more than 100,000 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.
In addition, Thruway Authority staff has been removing snow from emergency lanes and medians, as well as clearing drainage along its system to alleviate the potential of roadway flooding.
The Thruway Authority encourages motorists to download its mobile app which is available to download 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.
For real-time updates, motorists can follow @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.
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.
The New York State Department of Transportation is ready to respond with more than 1,548 large plow/dump trucks, 201 medium plow/dump trucks, 328 loaders, 40 truck/loader mounted snow blowers, 50 tow plows, 20 graders and 14 pickup trucks with plows. DOT also has more than 316,000 tons of road salt on hand. DOT continues to monitor weather forecasts and stands ready to shift resources as necessary to any areas of the state anticipating significant weather conditions.
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 Police is prepared to add additional patrols to affected areas as needed, and all available 4X4 vehicles will be in use. All specialized resources, including aircraft and boats, will be staged and ready for deployment.
In preparation for winter weather New York State Parks has alerted park police and park personnel to closely monitor weather updates and storm preparation efforts. New York State Parks has more than 950 emergency equipment resources on hand and ready for deployment. This includes light/medium duty plows, snowmobiles, 4x4 vehicles, ATV's and portable generators.
Park patrons should monitor www.nysparks.com or call their local park office for the latest updates regarding park hours, openings and closings.
The State Department of Environmental Conservation is using FEMA flood plain maps and professional experience to identify flood prone areas, including creeks and streams, where snow melt and rain could cause damaging flooding. DEC will monitor stream level forecasts and flood gages on creeks, streams, and rivers to assess flooding risks and respond to potential flooding that would activate any of the 106 Flood Control Projects DEC maintains and operates across New York State.
DEC is also surveying conditions and coordinating with sister state agencies to anticipate, alert and respond to any known ice jam conditions and associated flood risks. DEC is also monitoring wastewater treatment plants throughout the state, based on risk conditions and staff are ready to respond to any emergencies caused by flooding.
The State Department of Agriculture and Markets, DEC and the Cornell Pro-DAIRY program are sending alerts to farmers concerning the need to refrain from manure spreading in anticipation of snow melt and precipitation conditions. This alert protocol includes information on best practices to reduce the risk of manure being transmitted to waters during high runoff conditions, including monitoring requirements to ensure nutrient levels in open waste storage do not exceed permitted capacity and can accommodate increased storm water flow. DEC and DAM staff are available to provide information to assist farmers with implementation of these measures.