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Hochul urges caution for Thanksgiving travel, as extreme winter weather forecasted

Fri, Nov 17th 2023 02:00 pm

Earlier today, Gov. Kathy Hochul urged caution ahead of Thanksgiving, as extreme winter weather is expected to impact holiday travel plans across Western New York and the North Country next week.

 She said, “Just a reminder, we’re heading into the busiest travel season of the year. And, of course, Mother Nature is preparing to slam us with a massive snowstorm right here in New York at the prime peak time for holiday travel next Wednesday into Thursday. The most vulnerable areas, of course, are Buffalo and Watertown.

“And I wanted everyone to know that we're taking this very seriously. Our state forecasters and National Weather Service are tracking a lake effect snowstorm. We believe it's going to have major impacts. As a result of those forecasts, I'm directing all of my state agencies from Homeland Security, DOT, Thruway Authority, National Guard, Parks and DEC to be prepared.

“We are preparing for the worst-case scenario and warning motorists and homeowners and people now who will be traveling locally and outside the region to alter your travel plans now. Do not make next Wednesday be your main day to travel or else you'll get stuck. You'll be either stuck at home not able to travel, or worst case there, you could be stuck on one of the roads or the New York State Thruway.

“So, sending out the message now, a preemptive warning to all New Yorkers who plan to travel over the holidays. Or if you're staying home and cooking, I would recommend getting your groceries over the weekend and not waiting until Monday or Tuesday, so you don't get jammed up not having what you need for your holiday planning.

“I encourage people to monitor local forecasts, stay tuned. If we need to, we'll be sending out reverse cell phone alerts to deeply affected areas to make sure everyone's ready. But we've been through this before. It was this week last year when Western New York was slammed with a 7-foot snowstorm. 2014, a similar event the same week. Because the lake has not frozen, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, we get these really, sometimes cataclysmic winter storms even before winter starts.

“I just want to remind everybody to be vigilant. We're expecting freezing rain, snow accumulations, high winds – everything you would not want to see as you're heading out for your holiday travels. But the warnings are out there, and I'm asking everyone to heed them at this time.”

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