Governor Cuomo outlines statewide snowstorm response

NY Capitol News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A statewide effort is under way to clean up after a major snowstorm as many localities are declaring a state of emergency.

As of Thursday morning, some areas in Binghamton totaled about 2.5 feet of snow while Albany piled up more than 20 inches. Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’s declaring a state of emergency in 18 counties.

“State of Emergency allows local governments more flexibility, state government more flexibility to move faster,” he said. 

The Governor says 2,000 snow plows are out on top of 3,500 Thruway and Department of Transportation personnel working to clear the roads. 

According to a spokesperson with DOT, workers must stick to the same pandemic related standards applied to all state agencies, including temperature screenings, mask wearing, social distancing and staying home if sick. Snow plow operators must also disinfect all vehicles before and after their shifts. 

The Governor said there have been reports of more than 9,100 power outages, 600 auto accidents and two fatalities. His message Thursday is to stay off the roads unless it’s necessary.

“First, it is dangerous, the roads are dangerous, especially a lot of the local roads are very dangerous. And, second, the people who are trying to do the plowing and clearing the roads, the traffic is an obstacle to that, so let them do their job and let’s do it safely,” he said.

The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services also has state stockpiles of storm related needs like sandbags and water bottles ready to deploy to localities that may need them.

The speed limit on the New York State Thruway has also been reduced to 45 mph between Syracuse and New York City. 

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