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Cuomo issues winter weather update.
NYSNYS News
Text of press release.



For Immediate Release: January 10, 2015


GOVERNOR CUOMO ISSUES UPDATE ON WINTER STORM CONDITIONS

New York State Thruway and Route 400 Are Reopening

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today issued an update on winter storm conditions and road closures in Western New York. Beginning immediately, the New York State Thruway is open, with the exception of Exit 55, Route 219. Route 400 is also reopening.

Route 5 will be re-opening at 10:00 a.m. and Route 219 at 11:00 a.m.

Last night heavy snow continued to impact communities along the closed roadways - at times coming down in increments of four inches per hour with high winds, resulting in white out conditions. Municipalities in the region – including Evans, Hamburg and Eden – also issued travel bans and declared emergencies.

Use Caution If Travel Is Necessary
It is important for motorists on all roads to note that snowplows travel at speeds up to 35 miles per hour, which in many cases is lower than the posted speed limit, to ensure that salt being dispersed stays in the driving lanes and does not scatter off the roadways. Oftentimes on interstate highways, snowplows will operate side by side, as this is the most efficient and safe way to clear several lanes at one time.

Motorists and pedestrians should also keep in mind that snowplow drivers have limited lines of sight, and the size and weight of snowplows can make it very difficult to maneuver and stop quickly. Snow blowing from behind the plow can severely reduce visibility or cause whiteout conditions. Motorists should not attempt to pass snowplows or follow too closely. The safest place for motorists to drive is well behind the snowplows where the roadway is clear and salted.

Some of the most important tips for safe winter driving include:
Never follow a snowplow too closely or attempt to pass one. Remember that the highway ahead of the plow is usually snow-covered;
Adjust speed for road conditions and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles;
Schedule extra time for winter travel and be patient during ice and snow removal operations;
Assume that bridge surfaces are slippery, as they freeze more quickly than road surfaces;
Be wary of black ice, which can be difficult to see but makes conditions slippery when pavement temperatures are below freezing;
Have a cell phone handy, if possible, but do not text while driving; distracted driving is illegal and becomes even more dangerous during storm events;
Never venture from your vehicle if snowbound;
Equip your car with emergency supplies including sand, shovel, flares, booster cables, rope, ice scraper, portable radio, flashlight, blankets and extra warm clothes;
Inform a responsible person of your destination, intended route, and estimated time of arrival; and
Keep calm and do not panic in case of a vehicle breakdown, accident, or if you become snowbound.

Motorists should also include the following emergency items in their vehicles:
Flashlight with extra batteries
Charged cell phone and automobile charger
Basic first-aid kit
Blankets or sleeping bags
Extra clothes, including rain gear, boots, mittens, and socks
Windshield scraper and brush
Fire extinguisher
Shovel
Sand, road salt and/or cat litter for traction
Tire chains or traction mats
Basic tool kit, including pliers, wrench, and screwdriver
Tow rope
Battery jumper cables
Road flares/reflectors
Brightly colored cloth (to use as a flag)
Road maps

Heavy exertion, such as shoveling snow, clearing debris, or pushing a car, can increase the risk of a heart attack. To avoid problems:
Stay warm, dress warm and SLOW DOWN when working outdoors.
Take frequent rests to avoid over exertion.
If you feel chest pain, shortness of breath, or pain in the jaw or radiating down the arm -- STOP and seek help immediately.

If You Lose Power:
First, call your utility to determine area repair schedules.
Turn off or unplug lights and appliances to prevent a circuit overload when service is restored. Leave one light on to indicate when power has been restored.
If heat goes out during a winter storm, keep warm by closing off rooms you do not need.
Other Home Safety Tips:
When removing snow and ice from driveways and sidewalks, stay clear of electric and natural gas meters to avoid damaging them, inadvertently disrupting service or putting yourself in danger. Snow and ice can damage electric and natural gas meters, natural gas pipes and natural gas regulators, so never bury any of this equipment when shoveling, using a snowblower or plowing.
When removing snow or ice from a roof, never let it fall on electric or natural gas meters or related equipment.
Natural gas appliance chimneys and vents should be kept free of snow and ice to prevent the build-up of potentially-deadly carbon monoxide.
Be prepared if you smell natural gas. If you smell that distinctive sulfur-like odor – like the smell of rotten eggs – get up, get out and call your utility immediately from a cell phone or neighbor’s phone.

New York State provides a travel advisory system that features real-time travel reports and road conditions, which can be accessed by dialing 511 or online at www.511ny.org. The web site features a color-coded map indicating which state roads are snow covered, ice covered, wet, dry, or closed to help travelers determine if travel is advisable. It also provides links to airport, rail and transit information.

Motorists are encouraged to sign up for TRANSalert e-mails which provide the latest traffic conditions along the Thruway. Motorists can sign up for TRANSalerts by following this link:http://www.thruway.ny.gov/tas/index.shtml. Thruway travelers can also get real-time updates by following @ThruwayTraffic on Twitter or by visiting http://www.thruway.ny.gov to see an interactive map showing traffic conditions for the Thruway and other New York State roadways.

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