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State of emergency declared as winter storm hits upstate NY

A winter storm moves across the eastern United States
A winter storm moves across the eastern United States

Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency Monday, as a winter storm approaches the region. The state of emergency for all of New York is effective at 8 p.m. Monday.

Hochul cautions the storm could potentially be deadly.

"We're no strangers to snow here, but we also want to make sure that that does not mean complacency sets in," Hochul said. "That is our biggest fear. People in Upstate say, 'Well, snow is coming now. There's a snowstorm. I lived my whole life with snowstorms.' This is one we are cautioning people could be deadly."

Most of central and northern New York is under a Winter Storm Warning until early Wednesday. Jefferson County is under a Winter Weather Advisory. (Get the latest watches and warnings here)

How much snow will fall and when?

A map of potential snow accumulations from 5 p.m. Monday to 8 a.m. Wednesday
National Weather Service
A map of potential snow accumulations from 5 p.m. Monday to 8 a.m. Wednesday

Snow will start to move across the region late Monday night into Tuesday morning and it will be heavy at times. Temperatures will be around 30 degrees and any snow that falls is likely to be wet and heavy. Snow is expected to continue through the day Tuesday and into Tuesday night. By Wednesday, only some light snow showers will be left and we should see some sunshine by the afternoon.

How much snow will fall depends on location. According to the National Weather Service, areas east and southeast of central New York are expected to see the highest snow totals. The heaviest snow is expected south and east of Syracuse, including the Mohawk Valley. According to the National Weather Service, 12-18" of snow could fall by Tuesday night.

For much of central and northern New York, the Weather Service said 8-12" could fall, with lower totals west of Syracuse and close to the Lake Ontario shoreline.

State prepared for power outages

Hochul said power outages are expected across the state, but crews are ready.

"Heavy dense snow means one thing: it's going to take down the wires," Hochul said. "There's no way around it. This is not the light fluffy pretty Christmas snow. This is going to come down like a brick."

The Department of Public Service has roughly 7,800 workers available for helping restore utilities. Central New York is receiving three plow operators and one supervisor from the Western Southern Tier to assist in snow response. More than 3,600 operators and supervisors are available statewide from the New York Department of Transportation.

While the state is positioning utility teams to respond to outages, it could take some time to restore power. The governor said there may be times when the roads are too busy for utility trucks to be out.

"They'll work as fast as they can," Hochul said. "If we don't think it's fast enough, I assure you, we let them know. I have no hesitation calling any company head and saying, "That's not fast enough. Get the people out there now.'"

Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said the storm is a long-term event bringing hazardous conditions for two to three days.

"We do expect widespread power outages and we expect that repairing those outages, getting power back may take us extra time given the conditions that we're going to face on Tuesday and even Wednesday morning," Bray said.

Vehicle restrictions in place

Several commercial vehicle restrictions are in place beginning 8 p.m. Monday. The New York State Thruway Authority is banning all tandem and empty tractor trailers from Interstate 87 exit 17 (Newburgh - Scranton - Interstate 84) to Interstate 90 exit 26 (Watertown - Binghamton - Interstate 81) as well as the length of the Berkshire Spur.

Interstate 81 from the Pennsylvania Border to Syracuse has a "Trucks Use Right Lane" advisory.

The New York National Guard is on duty to assist with the state's response to the storm.

Ava Pukatch joined the WRVO news team in September 2022. She previously reported for WCHL in Chapel Hill, NC and earned a degree in Journalism and Media from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Ava was a Stembler Scholar and a reporter and producer for the award-winning UNC Hussman broadcast Carolina Connection. In her free time, Ava enjoys theatre, coffee and cheering on Tar Heel sports. Find her on Twitter @apukatch.
Jason has served as WRVO's news director in some capacity since August 2017. As news director, Jason produces hourly newscasts, and helps direct local news coverage and special programming. Before that, Jason hosted Morning Edition on WRVO from 2009-2019. Jason came to WRVO in January of 2008 as a producer/reporter. Before that, he spent two years as an anchor/reporter at WSYR Radio in Syracuse.