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New York prepares for winter storm, state assets ready, new message boards installed

Christian Fernsby |

KEY POINTS
  • Precipitation will begin as snow for most of the state during the day on Sunday
  • Interior areas to the northwest of New York City have a potential to see a period of freezing rain and sleet Sunday night. The forecast calls for the heaviest snow accumulations in the western Catskills, with totals expected to hit two feet.
  • Central New York and the Mohawk Valley are expected to receive up to a foot of snow. The State Department of Transportation is ready to respond with 3,517 supervisors and operators available

State assets were desployed to regions of New York expected to be hit hardest in a powerful winter storm.


The storm is moving towards the state that is forecasted to bring heavy snow, sleet and freezing rain across many areas of the state beginning early Sunday and lasting into Monday evening's commute.

Precipitation will begin as snow for most of the state during the day on Sunday as the nor'easter will move from the Southern Tier toward the Catskills and the Capital Region.

The heaviest widespread precipitation will be Sunday afternoon into Sunday night and then a prolonged period of varying intensity precipitation Monday into Monday night.

Interior areas to the northwest of New York City have a potential to see a period of freezing rain and sleet Sunday night.

The forecast calls for the heaviest snow accumulations in the western Catskills, with totals expected to hit two feet.

The Southern Tier and Capital District regions could see 12 to 14 inches, while Central New York and the Mohawk Valley are expected to receive up to a foot of snow.

Downstate areas may see 6 to 10 inches, with New York City and Long Island getting approximately 1 to 4 inches.

Temperatures will range from the high 20s to low 40s.

Winds will be southeast from 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph in the Long Island, Mid-Hudson, and New York City Regions.

Various watches and advisories have been issued by the NWS for Areas in Western NY, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, central NY, Mohawk Valley, North County, MidHudson and Capital Regions.

The State Department of Transportation is ready to respond with 3,517 supervisors and operators available.

Regional crews are currently engaged in snow and ice preparations and rain event monitoring.

All Residency locations will be staffed for 24/7operation throughout the duration of the event.

All available snow and ice equipment is ready to deploy.

Fleet mechanics in affected areas will be staffing all maintenance locations 24/7 to perform repairs and keep trucks on the road.

Statewide equipment numbers are as follows:

1592 large plow trucks
183 medium duty
plows
52 tow plows 327 large loaders
39 snowblowers

The Thruway Authority has 684 supervisors and operators ready to deploy 218 Large Snow Plows, 109 Medium Snow Plows, 11 Tow Plows and 63 Loaders across the state with more than 123,000 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.

DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers, Forest Rangers, Emergency Management staff and regional staff are on alert and monitoring the developing situation and actively patrolling areas and infrastructure likely to be impacted by severe weather, including high winds.

All available assets, including swift water rescue and saw crew teams are strategically located to assist with tree clearing and response needs.

In addition, all available assets, including utility vehicles, are positioned to assist with any emergency response.

New York's utilities have approximately 4,500 workers available to engage in damage assessment, response and restoration across New York State.

Department of Public Service staff will track the utilities' work throughout the storm event.

The New York State Police have readied assets including all 4x4s, high-axle vehicles and boats for deployment as needed.

Troopers have been instructed to remain on high alert and to closely monitor flood prone areas for rising waters while on patrol.

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation regional crews are monitoring the storm and ready to assist as needed.

Emergency response equipment will be fueled and prepared for operation and staff will monitor conditions throughout the day.

Nearly 300 additional electronic message boards and traffic cameras have been installed along major traffic corridors in New York State.

As part of the initiative, the state Department of Transportation installed and activated an additional 125 cameras and 143 VMS units at critical locations along major traffic corridors.

With the new equipment in place, there are now 1,150 NYSDOT cameras and more than 550 NYSDOT VMS boards connected to DOT's 10 Transportation Management Centers and publicly accessible via 511NY.

The additional message signs boost the Department's reach in announcing and updating snowstorm-related travel bans particularly for long-haul truck operators as well as providing timely information to motorists already on the road.

The Thruway Authority also deployed an additional 25 new portable Variable Message Signs across its 570-mile system ahead of the snow and ice season.

The portable VMS boards have been distributed across the Thruway's four Divisions statewide and will be strategically redeployed as necessary.

The Thruway Authority now has 78 permanent and more than 120 portable VMS across the state that can display urgent real-time messages during severe weather or other emergencies and traffic incidents.

In addition to the New York State Thruway, locations with new cameras and VMS units include:

Interstate 81
Interstate 84
Interstate 86
Interstate 87/Northway
Interstate 88
Interstate 490
Buffalo Metro Area highways.


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