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Cuomo visits WNY to update New Yorkers on significant winter weather moving through state

Press Release

Wed, Jan 30th 2019 02:05 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo holds a press briefing with state and local officials on lake-effect winter storm, extreme cold temperatures and subzero wind chills hitting Western New York. (Photo courtesy of the governor's office/Flickr page)
Gov. Andrew Cuomo holds a press briefing with state and local officials on lake-effect winter storm, extreme cold temperatures and subzero wind chills hitting Western New York. (Photo courtesy of the governor's office/Flickr page)

Wind chills as low as 30 degrees below zero will result in life-threatening conditions

Tractor-trailers and buses remain banned from several upstate highways

Hazardous travel conditions expected to continue due to blowing snow and freezing temperatures

Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited Cheektowaga on Wednesday morning. He updated New Yorkers on the significant winter weather systems currently affecting most of upstate, as well as the state's response. 

Most of upstate New York has already experienced between a couple inches to a foot of snowfall, with some parts of Western New York and the North Country getting up to a foot or more of snow. In the coming days, additional snowfall of as much as two feet in the most persistent lake-effect snowbands can be expected. The polar vortex has moved in from the north and continues to deliver dangerously cold wind chills – it is expected to do so through Thursday.

Travel will remain difficult across the state, as hazardous weather conditions threaten to impact the morning and evening commutes. Blowing snow and freezing temperatures will result in near-blizzard conditions.

Under Cuomo’s direction, state agencies pre-deployed assets throughout the state and remain fully engaged in helping local governments respond. Additionally, the tractor-trailer and bus ban placed on several upstate highways Tuesday evening remains in effect. The State Emergency Operations Center also continues to be in a level three activation to assist with any potential emergency response activities.

"As New York deals with another extreme weather system, I urge all New Yorkers to be diligent, take the necessary precautions to remain safe and avoid any unnecessary travel,” Cuomo said. "New York will continue our efforts to place personnel, equipment and assets throughout upstate New York as the polar vortex continues to bring dangerously low temperatures and creates hazardous travel conditions."

A strong, gusty Arctic front pushed into the state on Wednesday morning and is moving eastward throughout the day. Dangerous wind chills are predicted for most of the state through Thursday, ranging anywhere from 15 to 35 degrees below zero. The Arctic blast will produce heavy lake-effect snow northeast of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Lake-effect snow is expected to continue southward over the metro Buffalo area and the Tug Hill Plateau areas throughout Wednesday.

There is an increased risk for frostbite and hypothermia due to the dangerously low wind chill temperatures. Cuomo advised New Yorkers to stay indoors and, if they must be outside, to limit exposure and dress in several layers. Frostbite can occur in less than 20 minutes. Pets also should be kept inside as much as possible.

Increasing winds and strong gusts could result in near-blizzard conditions Wednesday and Thursday. The rest of the state can expect frigid temperatures and, due to frequent gusting winds, may experience difficult travel, including snow squalls. Extreme caution should be exercised when traveling anywhere across the state. If one must travel, the governor’s office said reduce speed, keep a safe distance, and keep a winter survival kit in vehicles. 

As of 8 p.m. Tuesday night, tractor-trailers and commercial buses were banned from the New York State Thruway from Exit 46 (Rochester I-390) to the Pennsylvania border as well as Interstate 190, Interstate 290, State Route 400, U.S. Route 219 from Peters Road to Interstate 90; and State Route 5 from State Route 179 to I-190. Tractor-trailers and commercial buses also are banned on Interstate 81 from the Canadian border to state Route 104. The bans will last for the duration of the storm.

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