Gov. Andrew Cuomo today announced a full travel ban on I-84 from the Pennsylvania border to the Connecticut border and a tractor trailer ban on the Adirondack Northway, I-87, between Albany and the Canadian border, both of which went into effect at 1 p.m.
With the I-84 travel ban, only emergency personnel, first responders, and other critical healthcare personnel are permitted on the roadway. A temporary tractor trailer ban still remains in effect on I-81, I-84, I-86/Route 17, I-88 and on all of the New York State Thruway. The full travel ban for all of Broome County announced earlier today remains in effect.
"With extreme winter weather sweeping the state, New York is taking every precaution to keep our communities safe," Cuomo said in a press release. "We are implementing a full travel ban on I-84 and a tractor trailer ban on I-87 from Albany to Canada, in addition to the other action we've taken throughout the day. The state is responding quickly and aggressively to the storm, and I urge New Yorkers to stay clear of the roads and allow emergency personnel to do their jobs."
This graphic from the National Weather Service shows the winter storm warning in pink (effective through 8 p.m. Wednesday) and blizzard warning in orange (in effect through 11 a.m. Wednesday) for northern New York and northwestern Vermont.
Meanwhile, state police and National Weather Service officials are advising motorists in parts of upstate New York to avoid unnecessary travel during today's storm that's expected to dump as much as 2 feet of snow in some areas of the state and 12 to 20 inches in the Adirondacks.
Gov. 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 today.
In the Tri-Lakes region of the Adirondack Park, the NWS has issued a winter storm warning until 8 p.m. Wednesday, with heavy snow anticipated for the Champlain Valley of Vermont and northeastern New York, including the Adirondack Mountains and foothills.
In addition, a blizzard warning has been issued for Essex County, including Lake Placid, and northern Franklin County until 11 a.m. Wednesday, with accumulations of snow from 12 to 20 inches. The blizzard warning includes Clinton, Warren, Washington and Saratoga counties, the Capital District around Albany and all of the Champlain Valley in New York and Vermont.
The snow is expected to become heavy at times during the afternoon and through the night. Steady snow will continue through Wednesday evening.
With sustained winds of 10 to 20 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 13 above.
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.
Lake Placid emergency room
The Adirondack Health/Lake Placid Site Emergency Room on Church Street will remain open throughout tonight, according to emergency room staff. The Lake Placid emergency room is normally open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. In the event of an emergency, village of Lake Placid officials ask people to dial 911, or call the Lake Placid Volunteer Ambulance Service at 518-523-9511 or the Lake Placid Fire Department/Police Department at 523-3306.
Many local schools were closed all day or had early dismissal due to today's snowstorm, including the Lake Placid Middle/High School, which closed at 10:30 a.m., and the elementary school, which closed at 11:15 a.m.
"Today's weather is a little unusual in that the morning is proving to be fairly typical for this time of year -- and manageable for our buses -- but it is the front end of a storm that forecasters are predicting will become heavy this afternoon and evening, which has us concerned," LPCSD Superintendent Roger Catania wrote this morning in an email to the News. "So we are closing school early to be sure our students arrive home safely before the more severe part of the storm arrives. I'm sorry for any inconvenience this may cause any of our families, but we think it's important that school remain open when it is safe to do so, even if that is only for a partial day."
In addition, all campuses of North Country Community College are closed today. So is the AuSable Valley Central School District.
The St. Agnes Elementary School in Lake Placid closed at 11:15 a.m.
Keene Central School dismissed at noon.
Saranac Lake Middle and High Schools dismissed students at 10:30 a.m., and the district's elementary schools dismissed at 11:30.
Paul Smith's College is on mid-semester recess this week.
(Senior Staff Writer Chris Knight contributed to this story.)