Governor Kathy Hochul today urged caution in advance of a winter storm forecast to impact most of the state, particularly the North Country, Mohawk Valley, Capital Region, Mid-Hudson and Central New York regions, with a mixture of snow and rain beginning Thursday and continuing through Friday. Starting Thursday, parts of the North Country could see 12 to 18 inches or more of snow, and parts of the Mohawk Valley, Central New York, Southern Tier and Capital Region are expected to receive up to a foot of snow by Saturday, with peak snowfall rates up to two inches per hour possible Thursday night and on Friday. Freezing rain or sleet is not expected to produce significant ice accumulations during the event. However, travel conditions will be dangerous starting Thursday evening, and snow may be wet and heavy enough to cause localized power outages. Governor Hochul urged New Yorkers to monitor their local forecasts, be prepared for changing weather conditions Thursday evening through Friday, and no unnecessary travel in impacted regions.

“I encourage all New Yorkers to exercise caution and be ready for possible power outages and tough commutes on Thursday and Friday as snow and ice accumulate in eastern parts of upstate,” Governor Hochul said. “Our emergency response agencies are well-prepared for this storm and will be working around the clock these next few days to keep New Yorkers safe.”

In addition to snowfall in the forecast, the New York City and Long Island regions are expected to see up to two inches of rain beginning Thursday afternoon into Saturday morning. This precipitation could begin as a wintry mix on Thursday afternoon that could impact evening commutes.

Multiple weather warnings and advisories have been issued for several parts of the state through Saturday. For a complete listing of weather warnings in your area, visit your area’s National Weather Service website.

New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, “Pay close attention to your local forecast today and tomorrow. Most of the state will see at least several inches of snow, and some regions will see more than a foot. It may be dangerous to travel on Friday in certain regions so, if you have to travel, be sure to build out extra time in your commute and take all necessary precautions.”

Safety Tips

Travel
Some of the most important tips for safe driving include:

  • Do not drive unless necessary.
  • Use caution on bridges as ice can form quicker than on roads.
  • 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.
  • If you have a cell phone or other communications device such as a two-way radio available for your use, keep the battery charged and keep it with you whenever traveling. If you should become stranded, you will be able to call for help, advising rescuers of your location.
  • The leading cause of death and injuries during winter storms is transportation accidents. Before getting behind the wheel, make sure that your vehicle is clear of ice and snow; good vision is key to good driving. Plan your stops and keep more distance between cars. Be extra alert and remember that snowdrifts can hide smaller children. Always match your speed to the road and weather conditions.
  • It is important for motorists on all roads to note that snowplows travel at speeds up to 35 mph, which in many cases is lower than the posted speed limit, to ensure that salt being dispersed stays in the driving lanes and does not scatter off the roadways.
  • 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 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. Never attempt to pass a snowplow while it’s operating.

Heavy Exertion

Heavy exertion, such as shoveling snow, clearing debris or pushing a car, increase the risk of a heart attack. To avoid problems:

  • Stay warm, dress warm, and slow down when working outdoors.
  • Take frequent rests to avoid overexertion.
  • If you feel chest pain, shortness of breath, or pain in your jaw radiating down your arm, stop what you are doing and seek help immediately.

Power Outages

  • Call your utility to determine area repair schedules.
  • Turn off or unplug lights and appliances to prevent a circuit overload when service is restored; leave one light on to indicate when power has been restored.
  • If heat goes out during a winter storm, keep warm by closing off rooms you do not need.

Heating Safety

  • Use only safe sources of alternative heat such as a fireplace, small well-vented wood or coal stove or portable space heaters.
  • Always follow manufacturer’s instructions.
  • When using alternative heat sources such as a fireplace, woodstove, etc. always make sure you have proper ventilation.
  • Keep curtains, towels, and potholders away from hot surfaces.
  • Have a fire extinguisher and smoke detectors and make sure they work.
  • If you use kerosene heaters to supplement your regular heating fuel, or as an emergency source of heat, follow these safety tips:
    -Follow the manufacturers’ instructions.
    -Use only the correct fuel for your unit.
    -Refuel outdoors only and only when the unit is cool.
    -Keep the heater at least three feet away from furniture and other flammable objects.
    -When using the heater, use fire safeguards and ventilate properly.

For more safety tips, visit https://dhses.ny.gov/safety.