Governor Hochul Updates New Yorkers on State Response to … –

State Agency Emergency Response Assets Continue to Assist Localities with Cleanup and Restoration Efforts

More than 100 National Guard Members Deployed to Erie County to Assist Residents and Local Storm Response

New York State Thruway Now Open to All Traffic and All Commercial Vehicle Travel Restrictions Have Been Lifted; Exit 55 (Lackawanna) Remains Closed to All Traffic to Support Closure of Route 219; Exit 56 (Blasdell) and Exit 57 (Hamburg) Remain Closed to Commercial Traffic

State Department of Transportation Lifts Commercial Vehicle Ban for Several State Highways in Western New York and North Country; Route 400 in Erie County Now Open to Traffic

Travel Ban Remains in Effect for Parts of Erie County and City of Buffalo, Including Towns of Orchard Park, Hamburg and Evans; Parts of Route 219 in Erie County Remain Closed

Total Accumulations of More than Six Feet of Snow Reported in Orchard Park, Blasdell, and Hamburg in Erie County, and More than Six Feet of Snow in Watertown and Fort Drum Area, With Peak Snowfall Rates of Six Inches Per Hour in Erie County and Five Inches Per Hour in Jefferson County
Governor Kathy Hochul today updated New Yorkers following the historic winter storm that buried upstate communities in the Buffalo and Watertown areas with more than six feet of snow since Thursday evening.   
“Thank you to all Western New Yorkers and our emergency management experts and personnel who continue to show up for each other during this historic winter storm,” Governor Hochul said. “We are working around the clock to keep everyone safe and urge all New Yorkers to stay vigilant and prepared during this potentially life-threatening weather event.” 
Prior to the arrival of lake effect snow on Thursday, Governor Hochul declared a State of Emergency for 11 counties and contiguous counties, which remains in effect. Additionally, New York’s emergency management experts have been in constant communication with their local counterparts for days leading up to the event.   
New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, “Thanks to Governor Hochul’s leadership, there has been unprecedented coordination, communication and action taken by state agencies to assist our local counterparts in keeping New Yorkers safe. Eleven counties remain in a State of Emergency and DHSES is working with Governor Hochul to secure federal assistance to help recover from this historic storm.”
The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Office of Emergency Management and Office of Fire Prevention and Control, the Department of Transportation, New York State Police, and Thruway Authority also pre-deployed the following resources to Western New York and the North Country:   
NYS Equipment in Western New York and North Country
NYS Personnel in Western New York and North Country
Snow began to fall in parts of upstate New York on Thursday and as of today, more than six feet of snow was reported in Erie County and Jefferson County, including Hamburg, Blasdell, Orchard Park in Erie County and Natural Bridge in Jefferson County. Throughout this time, these areas experienced a peak of six inches of snowfall an hour, which created extremely dangerous travel conditions.  
The Lake Erie snow band is now south of Erie County in the Southern Tier (Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, and Allegany counties). Snowfall totals up to six inches are expected in these locations with snowfall rates of one to two inches per hour. Tonight, the band is forecast to lift north again bringing another one to three inches of snow to the city of Buffalo.   
Gusty winds up to 50 mph are forecast today for many locations, resulting in blowing and drifting snow in the western counties.  
An intense lake effect snow band pushed south of Jefferson County and is impacting southern Lewis, Oswego, and far northern Cayuga counties on Sunday. Oswego County is expected to receive two to three feet of snow through tomorrow morning. Snowfall rates of up to four inches per hour and wind gusts up to 40 mph are possible.  
Governor Hochul and local officials continue to urge New Yorkers to avoid travel in the impacted areas in both regions to continue to allow plow crews and emergency responders to continue,
We are working around the clock to keep everyone safe and urge all New Yorkers to stay vigilant and prepared during this potentially life-threatening weather event.
Federal Emergency Declaration
The Governor has submitted a request to President Biden for a federal Emergency Declaration for Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Jefferson, Lewis, Niagara, Oneida, Oswego, St. Lawrence, and Wyoming Counties. If approved, the Emergency Declaration will provide access to federal funding for impacted counties to support ongoing response and rescue operations.  
Agency Activities
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services   
The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services is closely monitoring weather and travel conditions, coordinating State agency response operations, and communicating with local governments throughout the event. The State Office of Emergency Management began interagency coordination calls with the National Weather Service on Wednesday to prepare for the impacts of the storm across upstate regions.  
The State’s Emergency Operations Center in Albany was activated on Thursday, as well as a Regional Operations Center in Cheektowaga, Erie County, where DHSES is coordinating field response with State Agency partners including NYSDOT, State Police and the Thruway Authority. Additionally, OEM staff are embedded at the Erie County Emergency Operations Center and command centers for the Towns of Hamburg, Orchard Park, and Evans to support coordination between state and local response. The State’s stockpiles are prepared to deploy assets to local governments to support any storm-related needs.   
The State Office of Fire Prevention and Control assisted with rescuing more than 150 people from trapped vehicles and moving them to safety. State Fire personnel continue to assist local governments with performing wellness checks on residents and structural integrity assessments.
Department of Transportation  
In Western New York, Route 219 from I-90 to Peters Road is currently closed. Working in coordination with state and local officials, the Department is monitoring conditions and will update the public when these roads are reopened.  
The State Department of Transportation is responding with 3,287 supervisors and operators. Staff can be configured into any type of response crew that is required, including snow and ice operations, drainage, chipper, load and haul, and cut and toss. Additionally, 75 Incident Command System personnel are available to support the event.  
The Department sent additional plows and operators from other regions to Erie County on Friday to further assist with snow and ice removal operations, including on local roads in the Town of Hamburg, the City of Buffalo, the Village of Blasdell and the Town of Orchard Park.  The Department has also helped the City of Niagara Falls with plowing operations on main arterials. DOT plows are also assisting with snow and ice operations on primary routes within the City of Watertown and Village of Black River.    
In addition to existing resources, DOT is bringing in contractor resources to Western NY from Finger Lakes, Central NY, and Western NY. This includes 64 loaders, more than 130 large dump trucks, one skid steer, and about 200 more personnel.  
All residency locations will remain staffed for 24/7 operations throughout the duration of the event and priority cleanup operations. All available snow and ice equipment is ready to deploy. Fleet mechanics in affected areas will be staffing all main residency locations 24/7 to perform repairs and keep trucks on the road.  
Commercial Vehicle Ban
The commercial vehicle ban remains in place on Route 219 from Route 39 to I-90 – the road remains closed.  On I-81 from Exit 33 to the Canadian border, trucks are still required to use the right lane only.   
DOT has lifted its full commercial vehicle ban at the following locations:    
Thruway Authority  
Thruway Authority personnel continue cleanup efforts following the significant lake effect storm with 657 operators and supervisors ready to respond statewide. Thruway has shifted and deployed additional staff and equipment from its New York, Syracuse, and Albany Divisions to support snow and ice operations and snow removal efforts in Western New York. Deployed resources include operators and supervisors, mechanics, large plow trucks, and large snowblowers.  
The Thruway has reopened to all traffic and there are no commercial vehicle restrictions at this time with the following exceptions: Thruway (I-90) exit 55 (Lackawanna) remains closed to all traffic to support the closure of Route 219. Additionally, exit 56 (Blasdell) and exit 57 (Hamburg) remain closed to commercial traffic to facilitate cleanup efforts in these areas.   
Variable Message Signs and social media are utilized to alert motorists of winter weather conditions on the Thruway. The Thruway Authority also encourages motorists to download its mobile app which is available for free on iPhone and Android devices. The app provides motorists direct access to real-time traffic information, live traffic cameras, and navigation assistance while on the go. Motorists can also sign up for TRANSalert e-mails which provide the latest traffic conditions along the Thruway. You can follow the Thruway Authority on Twitter: @ThruwayTraffic and @NYSThruway and on Facebook at NYS Thruway Authority.  
National Guard 
At the direction of Governor Hochul, the New York National Guard has 109 Soldiers and Airmen on duty Sunday supporting the state response to the snowstorm. An additional 75 Soldiers and Airmen, with engineer vehicles to remove snow, will come on duty today, Nov. 20. Additional equipment being deployed includes four front-end loaders and eight, 10-ton dump trucks from the 204th Engineer Battalion and the 152nd Brigade Engineer Battalion; additional Humvees and personnel from the 102nd Military Police Battalion in Auburn, and the 174th Attack Wing in Syracuse, also will provide general purpose response and debris clearance.  
On Saturday, National Guard troops assisted the New York State Thruway Authority with clearing part of the Thruway, cleared roads in the town of Hamburg and transported people to medical appointments. Other troops deployed for the mission come from the 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry Regiment, and the 107th Attack Wing and the 105th Military Police Company. The National Guard personnel are using Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station as a base to support the snowstorm mission.
New York State Police   
The State Police added extra patrols to the areas most impacted by the lake effect snow, and has staged additional specialty vehicles, including all-terrain vehicles, utility task vehicles and snowmobiles, in those regions. All four-wheel drive vehicles are deployed, and troop emergency power and communications equipment has been tested.   
Department of Public Service   
New York’s utilities have approximately 5,780 workers available statewide to engage in damage assessment, response, repair, and restoration efforts. This includes an additional 280 external FTEs secured by National Grid. NYSEG has an additional 224 contractor line workers and 99 contractor tree workers staged to respond as needed. DPS staff will track utilities’ work throughout the event and ensure utilities shift appropriate staffing to regions that experience the greatest impact.   
Winter Safety Tips
Winter Travel   
Some of the most important tips for safe driving include:   
Heavy Exertion
Heavy exertion, such as shoveling snow, clearing debris or pushing a car, increase the risk of a heart attack.   
To avoid problems:   
Power Outages   
Heating Safety   
For more safety tips, visit  
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