ALBANY - Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency late Monday as a major winter storm has moved from the Midwest into Western New York and the Tug Hill Plateau region of the State. The State of Emergency covers the following counties: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Jefferson, Lewis, Livingston, Monroe, Oneida, Orleans, Oswego, Wayne and Wyoming.
Heavy lake effect snow is likely in much of that region. The rest of the state will experience extreme cold at least through Tuesday night.
Earlier Monday, the governor announced that parts of the New York State Thruway in Western New York will be closed due to extreme winter weather conditions and he directed the State Emergency Operations Center to open at 8PM tonight based on the forecasted winter weather conditions in Buffalo and Western New York.
These actions were taken due to a severe winter weather event that is forecast to include 36 inches of snow in the coming day-and-a-half, lake effect snows in some areas up to four inches per hour, wind gusts up to 40 mph and wind chill temperatures as low as 40 degrees below zero. The Thruway in this area will be reopened when conditions allow.
A state of emergency mobilizes resources to local governments that otherwise are restricted to state use only and allows the Governor to suspend laws and regulations that would impede rapid response.
The governor urged Western New Yorkers and residents in the Tug Hill Plateau region to avoid traveling and stay inside their homes until the worst of the storm has passed.
“As this new winter storm develops, bringing heavy snow and high winds, I strongly urge all citizens in these regions to exercise caution, avoid travel, and stay indoors,” Cuomo said. “To ensure an effective and rapid response to this winter storm, I am declaring a state of emergency, so resources can get to communities where they are needed as quickly as possible.”