Governor Declares State of Emergency

Putnam and Dutchess counties both affected

[Information from New York state below. For updates, see]

Gov. Andrew Cuomo today declared a state of emergency for Putnam and Dutchess counties because of expected heavy snowfall and high winds overnight. The state of emergency also applies to Westchester, Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Ulster and contiguous counties.

In addition, Cuomo announced a tractor trailer ban will be in effect on major state highways beginning at 4 p.m., and the state is considering a full travel ban on roads and bridges as well as the potential closing of public transit networks in affected areas beginning at 11 p.m. Commuters should pay close attention to advisories as the day progresses and leave work early if possible. In the event that a travel ban is in place, only emergency vehicles will be permitted on the road.

Cuomo has directed all non-essential state employees in counties covered by the State of Emergency to leave work at 3 p.m. The Executive Order also includes provisions to help protect the health of New Yorkers by suspending certain regulatory measures in order to help ensure all patients receive their medications and care during this emergency.

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for the greater New York City metropolitan area effective today at 1 p.m. through Tuesday night. The National Weather Service forecasts snow accumulation of at least 1 ½ to 2 feet combined with wind gusts of up to 55 mph. People in the region should closely monitor weather forecasts and advisories as the storm approaches the state.

Under a State of Emergency, critical resources that are normally restricted to state use are mobilized to assist local governments and laws and regulations that would otherwise impede their rapid response may be suspended.

Metro-North Railroad

The Long Island Rail Road, Staten Island Railroad and Metro-North Railroad may close at 11 p.m. as the snowstorm intensifies. This decision will be announced by 4 p.m., and commuters are encouraged to use these transit networks as soon as possible before the snow becomes heavier.

For commuters who plan to leave work early today, the LIRR and Metro-North will operate early-getaway departure schedules with extra trains departing from Grand Central and Penn Station in the early afternoon. As a result, there will be fewer Metro-North trains than a regular rush hour after 5 p.m., and there may be fewer LIRR trains than normal toward the later part of the rush hour if conditions worsen.

Later in the evening, the Metro-North and LIRR may suspend service. Railroad customers should visit and monitor MTA email and text message service alerts, or @LIRR or @MetroNorth on Twitter for information about specific train schedules.

The LIRR and Metro-North are activating switch heaters, which keep snow and ice from building up on the movable, interlocking rails where trains switch from one track to the next. With heaters activated, the switches will be able to continue to move and function as the storm progresses.

The railroads are also pre-positioning extra trains at key locations to stand by and assist in the event that a train becomes disabled. Station platforms will be pre-salted for the morning rush hour. Snow fighting equipment is in place, and being fueled in advance of the storm

Roads and Bridges

A ban on tractor-trailers for I-84 from border to border, the Long Island Expressway, and the Thruway (I-87/I-287) from exit 17 (Newburgh – I-84) to the New York City line, including the Cross Westchester Expressway (I-287) and New England Thruway (I-95), will begin at 4 p.m. Monday.

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