Governor Andrew Cuomo has activated the State Emergency Operations Center to monitor the winter storm that's expected to hit the Tug Hill region and other areas of the state.
The storm is expected to create hazardous driving conditions in the affected areas, and motorists are advised to use extreme caution.
Representatives from state agencies are in the EOC to help coordinate the response, including the New York Division of Military and Naval Affairs, the State Police, the Department of Transportation and the Thruway Authority.
A lake effect snow warning is in place for the Tug Hill plateau.
Parts of the region could get 2 to 3 feet of snow.
The state Department of Transportation has more than 700 trucks and nearly 1,000 personnel available around the state to clear snow and treat roads with salt.
The DOT has readied 45 large snow blowers to assist with clearing operations in the Watertown region.
NYSDOT crews in the Hudson Valley and Long Island were out before the storm pre-treating the roads to help prevent ice and snow buildup on the roads.
Here's a regional breakdown of DOT assets:
· Hudson Valley: 215 plows, 245 operators and supervisors
· Long Island: 190 plows, 335 operators and supervisors
· Buffalo: 176 plows, 243 operators and supervisors
· Watertown: 122 plows, 169 operators and supervisors
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.
NYSDOT provides a travel advisory system that features real-time travel reports and can be accessed by phone at 511 or online atwww.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.
The system provides real-time snow and ice conditions for interstates and other heavily traveled roads, as reported by snowplow operators.