Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced that tractor trailers and commercial buses will be banned from certain upstate highways in Western New beginning at 8 p.m. tonight and on portions of the Interstate 81 corridor beginning Wednesday at noon as heavy snows and frigid temperatures are expected to impact several parts of the state beginning this afternoon and extending into Wednesday morning. Most areas in the path of the storm will see 6 to 8 inches of snow, with the exception of areas that typically experience lake effect snow, including southern Erie County, the Chautauqua Ridge in Western New York, and the Tug Hill Plateau in Northern New York that could see significantly higher amounts of snow through Friday morning.
As the weather system winds down, a polar vortex moving in from the north will deliver dangerously cold wind chills late Tuesday night and continue through Thursday. Travel will be difficult across the state as hazardous weather conditions threaten to impact the morning and evening commutes. Blowing snow and freezing temperatures will result in near-blizzard conditions. New Yorkers should travel only if necessary.
Governor Cuomo has directed a Level 3 activation of the State Emergency Operations Center in order to prepare for and assist with any potential emergency response activities.
“With these weather systems moving across the state, I urge all New Yorkers to take necessary precautions and prepare for extreme temperatures expected over the next few days,” Governor Cuomo said. “Drivers should remain off the roads unless absolutely necessary, and residents should limit their time outdoors for the duration of these dangerous wind chills. State agencies are prepared to assist local communities and emergency officials as needed.”
Beginning at 8 p.m. tonight, tractor trailers and commercial buses will be banned from the New York State Thruway from Exit 46 (Rochester I-390) to the Pennsylvania border as well as Interstate 190, Interstate 290, State Route 400, U.S. Route 219 from Peters Road to Interstate 90; and State Route 5 from State Route 179 to I-190.
Beginning at noon Wednesday, tractor trailers and commercial buses will be banned on Interstate 81 from the Canadian Border to State Route 104.
The bans will last for the duration of the storm.
The Capital Region, Central New York, Mid-Hudson, Mohawk Valley, North Country, and Southern Tier regions are forecast to receive anywhere from a couple of inches to over six feet of snow through Wednesday morning. Lake effect snow will develop over the Buffalo Metro and Northtowns late Tuesday afternoon, and then drift south on Wednesday. Areas north of the Chautauqua Ridge in Western New York and parts of the Tug Hill Plateau in the North Country New York could see up to two feet or more of lake effect snow through Thursday.
Starting Tuesday night, a blast of Arctic air will bring dangerously freezing cold temperatures to the state. Daytime temperatures will likely drop down to single digits or teens, with overnight lows several degrees below zero in many areas. Combined with strong wind gusts, the cold temperatures will produce life-threatening wind chills as low as 30 degrees below zero in some places.