ZMI ALPHA:Governor Cuomo Directs State Agencies to Prepare Emergency Response Assets for Damaging High Winds and Plummeting Temperatures

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ZMI ALPHA:Governor Cuomo Directs State Agencies to Prepare Emergency Response Assets for Damaging High Winds and Plummeting Temperatures

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed state agencies to prepare emergency response assets as an Arctic cold front will bring isolated snowsqualls, wind gusts up to 60 mph and wind chills as low as -30 degrees across interior portions of New York beginning this afternoon and continuing into Tuesday morning. The Capital Region, Central New York and the Mohawk Valley have active storm warnings in place until early Tuesday afternoon. 

“This Artic cold front system will bring strong winds and snow squalls today and tomorrow,” Governor Cuomo said. “Travel conditions could be very dangerous and power outages are expected. I’ve directed our emergency response personnel to get out ahead of the storm and help the regions that will be effected. New Yorkers should take precautions and avoid all unnecessary travel.”  

Winds will increase throughout the day with the strongest winds expected overnight statewide. The strongest gusts will reach as high as 60 mph in the Mohawk Valley, Central New York, Finger Lakes, New York City and Long Island. Gusts as high as 45 mph are expected in the Capital Region, Mid-Hudson, North Country, Southern Tier and Western New York. Light snow accumulations of 1 to 2 inches is also expected across portions of upstate New York.  

Winds will slowly diminish Tuesday afternoon and evening, leading to mostly sunny skies on Wednesday. Overnight temperatures will range from -5 degrees in the North Country, to 10 degrees across Upstate, and low 20s in New York City and Long Island. Wednesday’s highs should reach the 40s across the state, except in the North Country, where temperatures will top out in the mid-30s. 

For a complete listing of weather advisories in your area, visit your area’s National Weather Service website.

Agency Preparations

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services 

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Emergency Operations Center remains activated due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will closely monitor weather conditions, coordinate state response operations and remain in contact with localities throughout the duration of the event. State stockpiles are prepared to deploy assets to localities to support any storm-related needs, including pumps, chainsaws, sandbags, generators, cots, blankets and bottled water.   

Department of Transportation 

The State Department of Transportation is prepared to respond with more than 3,600 supervisors and operators available statewide.  To support the upcoming event, NYSDOT crews will be fully engaged in the snow and ice operations overnight. Crews will be prepared to address downed trees in emergency situations.  

The Department has the following assets available for the upcoming event: 

  • 1,510 large snow plows
  • 314 large loaders 
  • 171 medium duty plows 
  • 80 chippers 
  • 52 tow plows 
  • 38 snow blowers 
  • 36 traffic tower platforms 
  • 18 graders 
  • 14 tree crew bucket trucks 
  • 11 pickups with plows  

For up-to-date travel information, call 511, visit or download the free 511NY mobile app.  

Thruway Authority

The Thruway Authority has 691 operators and supervisors ready to respond with 246 large snow plows, 101 medium snow plows, 11 tow plows and 60 loaders across the state with more than 113,000 tons of road salt on hand.  Variable Message Signs and social media are utilized to alert motorists of winter weather conditions on the Thruway. The Thruway Authority encourages motorists to download its mobile app, which is available 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.

Department of Environmental Conservation 

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. All available assets are positioned to assist with any emergency response. 

Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation 

New York State Park Police and park personnel are on alert and closely monitoring weather conditions and impacts. Park visitors should check or call their local park office for the latest updates regarding park hours, openings, and closings.  

Department of Public Service 

New York’s utilities have approximately 5,700 workers available to engage in damage assessment, response and restoration efforts across New York State. Department of Public Service staff will track the utilities’ work throughout the storm event and will ensure utilities shift the appropriate staffing to the regions anticipated to be impacted the most. 

New York State Police 

State Police are prepared to deploy additional Troopers as needed to affected areas. All State Police specialized vehicles, including four-wheel drive vehicles, snowmobiles and Utility Task Vehicles, are staged and ready for immediate response. All Troop emergency power and communications equipment has been tested. 

New York Power Authority / Canal Corporation 

The New York Power Authority and the Canal Corporation staff has performed preparations for the forecasted weather to ensure all facilities, assets and equipment are secured and ready. The Power Authority is prepared to support power restoration activities if needed.  

Port Authority 

The Port Authority is monitoring the winter weather and urges travelers at its facilities to use caution. Speed restrictions may be in effect at the bridges as well as along roadways to and from the crossings. Passengers through the Port Authority’s airports, bus terminal and bus station are encouraged to reach out to carriers and airlines directly for the latest information on delays and cancelations. For the latest information about Port Authority facilities, please check social media, sign up for PA alerts or download one of the PA mobile apps. 

Safety Tips

Prepare for severe weather:

  • Know the county in which you live and the names of nearby cities. Severe weather warnings are issued on a county basis.
  • Learn the safest route from your home or business to high, safe ground should you have to leave in a hurry.
  • Develop and practice a ‘family escape’ plan and identify a meeting place if family members become separated.
  • Make an itemized list of all valuables including furnishings, clothing and other personal property. Keep the list in a safe place.
  • Stockpile emergency supplies of canned food, medicine and first aid supplies and drinking water. Store drinking water in clean, closed containers
  • Plan what to do with your pets.
  • Have a portable radio, flashlights, extra batteries and emergency cooking equipment available.
  • Keep your automobile fueled. If electric power is cut off, gasoline stations may not be able to pump fuel for several days. Have a small disaster supply kit in the trunk of your car.
  • Have disaster supplies on hand, including:
    • Flashlight and extra batteries
    • Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
    • First aid kit and manual
    • Emergency food and water
    • Non-electric can opener
    • Essential medicines
    • Checkbook, cash, credit cards, ATM cards

If experiencing a power outage, New Yorkers should:

  • Turn off or disconnect major appliances and other equipment, e.g., computers, in case of a momentary power surge that can damage these devices. Keep one light turned on so you know when power returns. Consider using surge protectors wherever you use electronic equipment.
  • Call your utility provider to notify them of the outage and listen to local broadcasts for official information. For a list of utilities, visit the State Department of Public Service.
  • Check to see if your neighbors have power. Check on people with access or functional needs.
  • Use only flashlights for emergency lighting – candles pose the risk of fire.
  • Keep refrigerators and freezer doors closed – most food requiring refrigeration can be kept safely in a closed refrigerator for several hours. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for approximately four (4) hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours.
  • Do not use a charcoal grill indoors and do not use a gas stove for heat – they could give off harmful levels of carbon monoxide.
  • In cold weather, stay warm by dressing in layers and minimizing time spent outdoors. Be aware of cold stress symptoms (i.e., hypothermia) and seek proper medical attention if symptoms appear.
  • If you are in a tall building, take the stairs and move to the lowest level of the building. If trapped in an elevator, wait for assistance. Do not attempt to force the doors open. Remain patient – there is plenty of air and the interior of the elevator is designed for passenger safety.
  • Remember to provide fresh, cool water for your pets.
  • Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic signals will stop working during an outage, creating traffic congestion and dangerous driving conditions. If you must drive during a blackout, remember to obey the 4-way stop rule at intersections with non-functioning traffic signals.
  • Remember that equipment such as automated teller machines (ATMs) and elevators may not be working. 

For more safety tips, visit the DHSES website at

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