New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has declared a State of Emergency in seven counties and will deploy 300 members of the National Guard to assist with winter storm recovery.
Officials said Cuomo today declared a State of Emergency in Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Saratoga and Ulster Counties as a large winter storm continues to impact the state. The Governor has also activated 300 members of the National Guard to assist with snow removal and clean-up operations in these seven counties.
According to the National Weather Service, snowfall was spotty throughout the state, with some areas receiving more than a foot and some areas receiving less. The National Weather Service in Binghamton said portions of the Rome area had up to 14-inches of snow overnight.
The Albany region also received more than a foot of snow, with forecasts predicting possibly another eight inches Monday afternoon into Tuesday morning. Given these totals, the Governor announced that non-essential employees in state offices in Albany, Schenectady, Columbia, Greene, Fulton, Montgomery, Washington, Rensselaer, Ulster, Schoharie and Saratoga Counties were allowed stay home from work. New Yorkers planning to travel throughout Monday and on Tuesday morning are being urged to continue using extreme caution.
"Our state is no stranger to this type of extreme winter weather and these additional measures will be critical in our efforts to keep all New Yorkers safe throughout the remainder of this storm,” Cuomo said in his release.
Reduced speed limits remain in effect on a number of state-owned roadways to better protect motorists traveling during the storm. Variable Message Signs have been strategically placed on these highways, letting motorists know of the slower recommended speeds.
While snowplows from the state Department of Transportation and Thruway remain out in full effect, state police have already responded to more than 740 storm-related crashes statewide and assisted 558 disabled vehicles, officials said. No motor vehicle fatalities have been reported at this 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.
It is also important for motorists 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.