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Hundreds Of National Guard Members Activated In Advance Of Storm

The National Guard is on call as the storm approaches New York.
The National Guard is on call as the storm approaches New York. Photo Credit: Liz Button

All hands are on deck in New York, as the region braces for the first major winter storm of 2019.

A “multi-hazard” storm is heading toward the Hudson Valley, and is expected to bring up to a foot of snow in the area. In response, local, county and state agencies are pulling out all the stops to ensure that all residents stay safe during and after the storm.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he has activated 300 members of the National Guard, with another 150 on standby, who will be deployed to provide transportation support and assistance with clearing debris. All regional Emergency Operations statewide have been activated in advance of the winter weather.

The New York State Department of Transportation has rolled out more than 1,600 large plow trucks, of which 25 have been assigned to the mid-Hudson region. The NYSDOT also has 50 tow plows, 326 large loaders, 38 snow blowers, 20 graders, 204 medium duty and pickup trucks with plows, 32 tractor trailers, and more than 450,000 tons of salt on hand for the storm.

Thirty trucks, 30 operators and four equipment operator instructors will be sent from Long Island to the Capital Region, Central New York, Lower Hudson Valley and the Southern Tier/Binghamton area.

Cuomo said the Thruway Authority has 663 supervisors and operators ready to deploy 250 large snow plows, 129 medium snow plows, 11 tow plows and 58 loaders across the state with more than 123,000 tons of road salt. Variable Message Signs, Highway Advisory Radio and social media will be utilized to alert motorists of winter weather conditions on the Thruway.

New York State Police troopers will be out in force, with an increase in patrols throughout the state. Those troopers will be focusing on the roadways that are prone to being impacted by severe weather.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch that will be in effect from noon on Saturday, Jan. 19 through at least 6 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 20.

Before the storm arrives, state officials have offered a series of tips to help New Yorkers:

  • 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;
  • If you must travel, make sure your car is stocked with survival gear like blankets, a shovel, flashlight and extra batteries, extra warm clothing, a set of tire chains, battery booster cables, quick energy foods and brightly colored cloth to use as a distress flag;
  • Do not attempt to drive over flooded roads; turn around and go another way. Water moving at two m.p.h. can sweep cars off a road or bridge;
  • Watch for areas where rivers or streams may suddenly rise and flood, such as highway dips, bridges and low areas;
  • If you are in your car and water begins to rise rapidly around you, abandon the vehicle immediately.

"The impending storm will be problematic and dangerous because it will be a high level of snow over a large geographic area, and the state is deploying significant resources in preparation," Cuomo said. "Drivers should stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary and residents should prepare for potential power outages.

“Emergency Operations Centers are activated throughout the state this weekend to monitor the situation and we are already deploying significant additional resources and assets to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers throughout the duration of this storm.”

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