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Cuomo transparent on storm response

Dec 10, 2014 12:10 am
After being criticized on weather and climate issues lately, Governor Andrew Cuomo released a long press release Dec. 9 detailing the state's response to the current Nor'easter. With eight to ten more inches of snow forecast before a Winter Storm Warning ends at 7 a.m. Thu., Dec. 11, Cuomo released 1,000 words detailing:
• The New York State Thruway Authority has 345 large and medium sized snow plows, 555 snow plow operators and 116,000 tons of salt deployed across New York state for storm response and recovery efforts. The Thruway is deploying 12 heavy plows from the lower Hudson Valley.
• About 600 customers statewide lost power by the afternoon of Tue., Dec. 9, and 110 additional line crews are standing by in Central Hudson’s service territory. The New York State Public Service Commission is extending its call center helpline hours on Wed. Dec. 10 from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at 1-800-342-3377.
• The Governor is urging motorists to stay home if possible, but check online at for travel information.

Read the full press release below.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today issued an update on the winter storm currently traveling through New York State. The Governor reminds New Yorkers to use absolute caution when traveling due to black ice conditions in areas and urges them to take extra precautions during the evening commute home. Given the black ice and possibility of rain changing to snow over the course of the day, those who are able to leave work early are encouraged to do so.

Throughout the day, a significant winter storm will bring moderate to heavy snow and mixed precipitation throughout the State. Snow accumulations of 8 to 13 inches of heavy, dense snow is expected in northern areas of the Adirondacks, with 6 to 12 inches expected in the western and southern Adirondacks, Mohawk and Schoharie Valleys, Eastern Catskills, Helderbergs and the Lake George Region. Snow could be heavy at times with accumulations of 1 to 2 inches per hour. The immediate Capital District will see mixed precipitation and transition to rain in the afternoon. Heavy rain and winds in the New York City area could bring minor to moderate coastal flooding and urban flooding in low lying areas.

“I urge all drivers to exercise caution and check conditions before getting on the road,” Governor Cuomo said. “We are proactively deploying as many resources as necessary to assist communities in the storm’s path to prepare for and manage whatever Mother Nature brings.”

The New York State Emergency Operations Center has been activated as of 8 a.m. in response to the winter storm with the following agencies: Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Military and Naval Affairs, Department of Transportation, Division of State Police, Office of Fire Prevention and Control, Office of Information and Technology Services, Thruway Authority, and the Public Service Commission.

The Division of State Police Troop Emergency Management personnel have been pre-designated to staff the State, Nassau and Suffolk County Emergency Operation Centers (EOC). Weather related incident reporting procedures are in place for the duration of the storm. All specialty use vehicles and equipment have been staged for deployment as needed. They continue to closely monitor road closures and restrictions with the Department of Transportation and Thruway Authority.

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 deployed across New York state for storm response and recovery efforts. The Thruway is deploying 12 heavy plows from the lower Hudson Valley and 5 heavy plows from the Rochester area, to supplement existing forces in Syracuse and the Mohawk Valley. Thruway-contracted tow operators are deploying heavy and light tow trucks at key locations between Syracuse and Albany to ensure quick responses to any accidents.

The New York State Department of Transportation has 1,444 plows and 3,629 trained operators and supervisors available statewide to fight the storm. The Department has deployed 45 plows and 96 operators and supervisors to the Binghamton and Hudson Valley regions from other parts of the state, and other crews are on standby to deploy if needed. NYSDOT has activated towing services to assist motorists, which have been stationed at key locations, including along I-84 and Route 17 in the Hudson Valley. The Department has more than 400,000 tons of salt on hand for this storm.

Mass Transit

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has posted crews to monitor for weather effects on subways, buses, bridges, tunnels, Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road. All bus routes are experiencing weather-related delays due to heavy rain and flooding conditions on local streets as well as area highways and parkways. The subway system is monitoring for high wind gusts as well as flooding and fallen trees on outdoor portions of the system, and is covering areas prone to flooding and signal failures. Motorists are asked to drive at reduced speeds on all seven MTA bridges because of wet roadways and to use particular caution because of the risks posed by high winds. Pedestrian walkways at some bridges are subject to closure due to high winds.

Airline Travel

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey urges air travelers to check with their carriers before going to the airport to confirm whether their plane will depart as well scheduled departure times. The agency also may impose speed restrictions on its crossings if weather conditions warrant. 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 http://www.paalerts.com/.


As of 1:30 pm, there were approximately 600 electric customers statewide without service due to the storm. All trouble jobs have crews assigned to make repairs. There are 110 additional line crews that have arrived in Central Hudson’s service territory. Approximately 60 additional line workers are en route to New York State Electric and Gas Corporation’s Eastern Division, which includes Brewster, Mechanicville, and Plattsburg. NYSEG is also moving additional line workers from its Western Divisions east, and National Grid has 50 additional line workers in its Western Division available if needed.

The New York State Public Service Commission is extending its call center helpline hours on Tuesday, December 9 until 7:30 PM, and will continue the following days from 7:30 AM – 7:30 PM 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.

Planning Ahead

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.
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