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Hochul urges New Yorkers to prepare for snow, high winds in weekend nor’easter

NEW YORK (WABC) — New York Governor Kathy Hochul is urging all New Yorkers to prepare for snow and heavy wind as a nor’easter approaches.

The storm is expected to hit Friday evening and last through Saturday night for Long Island, New York City, and the Mid-Hudson regions.

The big wildcard is the exact track of the storm, which will have huge ramifications for the amount of snow and wind.

A track farther offshore would spare the area from the brunt of the storm, while a track closer to the coast could mean near-blizzard conditions over a wide swath Northeast.

Hochul directed state agencies to prepare emergency response assets, just in case the coastal storm system delivers upwards of a foot of snow, with winds potentially gusting up to 55 mph.

Such conditions would likely impact travel in several locations and could potentially cause power outages.

“A winter storm system moving up the coast has the potential to deliver heavy snow, gusty winds, and create dangerous travel conditions across downstate locations this weekend, especially in Long Island, New York City and the Mid-Hudson Region,” Hochul said. “We are monitoring forecasts and making emergency response preparations for whatever this storm system throws our way. As we head into the weekend, I encourage New Yorkers to closely follow their local weather forecasts, stay off the roads and avoid unnecessary travel.”

On Long Island, PSEG crews were out trimming trees near power lines in hopes of preventing outages. Flooding could also be an issue.

In New York City, the Department of Sanitation has issued a Snow Alert from 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday morning.

In a Snow Alert, the Department coordinates with NYC Emergency Management and the Department of Transportation on snow clearing protocol in accordance with each agency’s written snow plan. All relevant city agencies have been notified of the Snow Alert.

Salt spreaders are filled and ready to go and will start pretreating roadways ahead of the snowfall as early as Friday morning. The forecast indicates that this is an appropriate event for the use of brine, and the department is placing this liquid pretreatment on roadways Thursday and Friday.

Additionally, the department’s collection trucks will be turned into snow plows, ready to plow once two inches of snow has fallen, and chains will be placed on tires for added traction. The department has more than 2,000 total vehicles equipped with plows, including salt spreaders, as well as more than 280,000 tons of salt on hand.

A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for much of the area, but there remains uncertainty regarding the storm.

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Emergency Operations Center is activated and will closely monitor conditions, coordinate 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.

The State Department of Transportation is responding to the current weather event in multiple regions with the following assets:
–1,596 large snow plows
–322 large loaders
–143 medium duty plows
–51 tow plows
–39 snowblowers
–23 pickup trucks with plows
–20 graders

The Thruway Authority has 681 operators and supervisors ready to respond with 240 large snow plows, 117 medium snow plows, 11 tow plows and 66 loaders across the state with more than 119,000 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 MTA is closely monitoring weather conditions to ensure safe, reliable service. MTA employees will be poised to spread salt, clear platforms and stairs where ice exists, and keep signals, switches, and third rail operating, remove any downed trees that may fall across tracks, and attend to any weather-related challenges during the storm.

MTA Bridges and Tunnels is advising motorists to use caution when driving on icy roadways and drive at reduced speeds.

The Port Authority is also monitoring weather condition, and 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 facilities are encouraged to reach out to carriers and airlines directly for the latest information on delays and cancelations.

Safety Tips

Winter Travel
–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.

Some of the most important tips for safe driving include:

–When winter storms strike, do not drive unless necessary.
–Use caution on bridges as ice can form quicker than on roads.
–Wet leaves on roadways can cause slippery conditions, making it important to drive at slower speeds when approaching patches of them.
–Make sure your car is stocked with 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.
–Keep your gas tank full to prevent gasoline freeze-up.
–If you have a cell phone or 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.
–Make sure someone knows your travel plans.
–While driving, keep vehicles clear of ice and snow.
–Plan stops and keep distance between cars. Always match your speed to the road and weather conditions.

Power Outage

If experiencing a power outage, you 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.

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