State police and National Weather Service officials are advising motorists in parts of upstate New York to avoid unnecessary travel during the approaching storm that's expected to dump as much as 2 feet of snow in some areas of the state and 8 to 18 inches in the Adirondacks.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a statewide state of emergency Monday evening, starting at midnight, and directed non-essential state employees impacted by the winter storm to stay home from work Tuesday.
In the Tri-Lakes region of the Adirondack Park, the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning from 7 a.m. Tuesday to 8 p.m. Wednesday, with heavy snow anticipated for the Champlain Valley of Vermont and northeastern New York, including the Adirondack Mountains and foothills. Accumulations of 12 to 18 inches of snow are expected in this region.
The snow is expected to develop around daybreak Tuesday in the Tri-Lakes region and become heavy at times during the afternoon and through the night. Steady snow will continue through Wednesday evening.
"The Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning commute are expected to be especially difficult," the National Weather Service stated in its winter storm warning. "Unnecessary travel is discouraged during Tuesday afternoon and evening."
With sustained winds of 15 to 25 mph and gusts up to 35 mph, motorists can expect hazardous winter driving conditions due to snow-covered roads, low visibility and blowing and drifting snow, creating near-whiteout conditions at times. Visibility will be down to one quarter mile or less at times.
High temperatures will be in the lower 20s with lows 8 to 14 above.
The heaviest snow accumulations are expected south and east of the Capital Region, in the Mohawk Valley and in the Mid-Hudson Valley region, where 20 to 24 inches of snow are expected from late tonight through late Tuesday night, tapering off Wednesday.
At the governor's direction, state agencies have already pre-positioned personnel, assets and stockpile resources - including sandbags, generators and pumps - to areas where the storm will be at its strongest.
With the storm approaching, the governor urged commuters to drive with caution for the Tuesday morning and afternoon commutes, and to avoid unnecessary travel. Motorists, especially tractor-trailers, should be prepared for road closures across the state.
"We remain in constant contact with local officials in every region, as New York prepares to aggressively clear roads, provide personnel and storm equipment as needed, and offer immediate assistance to communities across the state," Cuomo said in a press release. "I strongly urge everyone to limit unnecessary travel on Tuesday, and if you must drive, please plan ahead, be careful, and stay safe."
Motorists are reminded to check 511NY by calling 511 or visiting www.511ny.org before traveling. The free service allows users to check road conditions and transit information. Mobile users can download the free 511NY mobile app from the iTunes or Google Play stores. The app features Drive mode, which provides audible alerts along a chosen route while a user is driving, warning them about incidents and construction. Users can set a destination prior to departing and receive information on up to three routes.