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NY Gov Issues State Of Emergency; Snowstorm Shuts Down The Hudson Valley

Feb. 1, 2021 snowstorm, Dutchess County, NY
WAMC, Allison Dunne
Feb. 1, 2021 snowstorm, Dutchess County, NY

With the region in the midst of a blizzard, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency. The Hudson Valley is forecast to be hit with some of the highest measurable snowfall in the region, and county leaders only want to hear the sound of snowplows and DPW trucks on the roads.

Cuomo made the declaration during a midday briefing.

“I've declared a state of emergency for 44 counties in New York State, basically all the counties outside of Western New York,” Cuomo says. “A state of emergency has a number of consequences but from a citizen point of view, if you are not an essential worker you should not be on the roads when there is a state of emergency.”

Metro-North suspended service as of 3 this afternoon. County executives across the Hudson Valley also declared states of emergency. Democratic County Executive George Latimer announced one for Westchester as of 1 this afternoon, ending at 1 p.m. Thursday.

“We have more police patrols out there to try to deal with accidents and to try to deal with stranded drivers,” Latimer says. "And there will be stranded drivers because we’re approaching blizzard conditions, whiteout conditions with wind and with steady snowstorm precipitation. It’s going to be very hard to see.”

Latimer says Bee-Line buses and Paratransit vehicles halted operations as of 10 this morning, and will not be operating Tuesday morning. If the roads are safe and passable, service will resume at noon on Tuesday.

“We are responsible, as a county government, for the clearing, the plowing and the salting of the Bronx River Parkway,” says Latimer. “The Bronx River Parkway was treated with brine yesterday as was various county parking lots that are at county parks, and then also the Grasslands campus in Valhalla.”

Cuomo said the Mid-Hudson would receive 86 plow operators from Central New York, the Finger Lakes, Western New York and the North Country. And he deployed 130 members of the New York National Guard to the areas that were expected to be hardest hit throughout the Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island.

In Ulster County, where Democratic County Executive Pat Ryan announced a state of emergency this morning, Ulster County Area Transit was suspended.  Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro also urged residents to stay home. He says that while, as of this afternoon, Cuomo had not imposed bans on state roadways, that directive could come, affecting I-84, for example. Again, Latimer:

“We have responsibility, through the Department of Social Service, to make sure that anyone that’s homeless is properly secured inside an appropriate shelter,” says Latimer. “And our DSS people were doing that last night and they’ll be doing it again tonight. This is no time for a person to sleep outside.”

Warming shelters were open in other counties. Several COVID-19 vaccination clinics were canceled for Monday, including in Rockland County and in Westchester, where both the county clinic in White Plains and the state-run vaccination clinic at the Westchester County Center were closed.

“The state has just announced that the County Center facility will be closed tomorrow. We have not made an official announcement about the closing of the clinic tomorrow,” Latimer says. “We will have to come up with a game plan in both locations to reschedule those people who were scheduled for vaccination.”

Republican Rockland County Executive Ed Day issued a State of Emergency Sunday night ahead of the snowstorm, suspending Transport of Rockland service until further notice.

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