Bristol Hills are expected to get socked the worst locally in impending storm expected to dump snow over the next 36 hours.
Utility companies, highway crews and others all the way up to the governor’s office in Albany say they are ready for the expected dump of a foot or more of snow in New York state over the next few days as a nor'easter is poised to bring blizzard conditions to the mid-Atlantic and Northeast
With the highest totals in the Finger Lakes region predicted south and east of Rochester — think the Bristol Hills — things could be even worse downstate with possible blizzard conditions.
This comes as Monroe County has barely recovered from high winds that kicked up late last week, leaving a number of communities without power for days.
Ontario County Commissioner of Public Works Bill Wright said the county was fortunate to have avoided the wind damage and power outages experienced in Monroe County. However, highway crews will be watching for tree damage that could result in the upcoming snowstorm bringing down trees.
“We have lucked out with the storm, so far,” said Wright. There were a few isolated areas in the county of downed trees from high winds late last week and over the weekend, though the “department got zero calls when the storm started,” which is unusual, Wright said.
“The ground is pretty saturated, which can uproot trees after wind has given them a beating,” Wright said.
As far as keeping roadways clear, Wright said crews are prepared. “Barns are full, trucks are ready,” he said. Due to the mild winter so far, highway crews have plenty of salt and sand to treat roads.
“There is not a snow we can’t handle … we are ready to go,” Wright said.
For local crews who have battled many worse winters, the storm will not be something unexpected, Wright said. He added the county gets updated weather reports and alerts from Messenger Post news partner News 10NBC and its Flour City Weather meteorologist Amanda McDonald.
“A Nor'easter is heading our way,” McDonald updated Monday afternoon. “There will be significant snowfall totals, however it will be spread over 36 hours with the heaviest snow falling on Tuesday,” according to McDonald. "The event will start later tonight (MONDAY) and for the most part taper off by noon on Wednesday.”
Her forecast also calls for steady winds between 15 and 25 mph with gusts to 40 mph that will cause poor visibility off and on throughout the duration of the storm. Wind chill will be near zero during the day Tuesday and below zero Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. McDonald’s preliminary snowfall forecast: Expect 1-3 inches by 6 a.m. Tuesday; additional 2-4 inches by Tuesday at noon; additional 2-4 inches by 6 p.m. Tuesday; and additional 2-4 inches by 6 a.m. Wednesday.
“The highest totals will be in The Bristol Hills,” McDonald noted. In all, snowfall totals will amount to between 8 and 16 inches by Wednesday at noon.
“If the storm tracks farther west we will see even higher snowfall totals. If it tracks farther east we will see lower snowfall totals,” added McDonald, who planned to “fine tune snowfall forecasts” later Monday night.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a State of Emergency to take effect at midnight Monday.
"[I] have directed state agencies to continue proactively preparing communities and roadways for this major storm," stated Cuomo. "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. I strongly urge everyone to limit unnecessary travel on Tuesday, and if you must drive, please plan ahead, be careful, and stay safe."
Officials from multiple agencies, including the Department of Transportation, New York State Thruway and New York State Police will meet to prepare for the storm, the governor's office said.
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren also urged caution during the snowstorm. “The City of Rochester is working hard preparing our staff and equipment for heavy snow, however I am asking for citizens to also be prepared, particularly when it comes to the morning commute,” Mayor Warren stated in a release. “By working together we can get through this storm safely.”
The storm is expected to have impacts throughout the Northeast on transportation, sports, even politics.
According to an Associated Press report, 6,000 flights have been cancelled across the country as airlines brace for the storm. American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines issued travel alerts and began waiving re-booking fees for flights within affected regions. At the Greater Rochester International Airport, a number of flights were listed as cancelled Monday.
The major airlines are waiving ticket-change fees that range up to $200 for customers who want to change their travel plans. Restrictions vary by airline.
Cuomo says above-ground services from New York City's main transit agency will stop running at 4 a.m. Tuesday because of the storm.
That means no service on the portion of the New York City subway system that runs above ground. Cuomo says service on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North commuter lines could also be "significantly impacted."
The U.S. House is telling lawmakers that votes are unlikely on Tuesday due to flight cancellations caused by an approaching winter storm. In a notice from the House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, lawmakers were told that the first votes for the week are expected Wednesday night.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has postponed her trip to Washington to visit with U.S. President Donald Trump due to a late-winter storm expected in the Northeast U.S. Merkel had been scheduled to arrive late Monday night for meetings with Trump on Tuesday but called off the trip at the last minute due to the weather, her office said.
Teams chasing a college basketball title are contending with the storm and the wrinkle it throws into last-minute travel plans. Villanova, the top overall seed in the men's NCAA Tournament, left Philadelphia Monday afternoon for Buffalo to get ahead of the storm. The defending champion Wildcats, who play on Thursday, had an abbreviated press availability with coach Jay Wright, but no player interviews were granted as the team rushed to its flight.
— Includes reporting from The Associated Press
Utility companies prepared
Utility companies NYSEG and RG&E, subsidiaries of AVANGRID, which covers the Rochester/Finger Lakes, announced they are monitoring weather forecasts in advance of the forecasted storm. Storm readiness teams have prepared crews and equipment to ensure that resources are prepared to restore any downed power lines and power interruptions in communities served by NYSEG and RG&E across the state.
“We are always prepared to respond to power interruptions, and in a case like this our line crews, support personnel and call center are on heightened alert,” stated Mark S. Lynch, president and chief executive officer of NYSEG and RG&E.
NYSEG and RG&E encourage customers to sign up for Outage Alerts to receive updates throughout the day automatically by phone, text, or e-mail as the company updates the status of the restoration process in their area. This information is also available online at http://bit.ly/1CqGduq or http://bit.ly/1tSfRhL
Advice to customers:
— Stay away from downed power lines.
— Even lines that appear dead can be dangerous.
— NYSEG customers should call 800-572-1131 to report downed power lines or other hazardous situations.
— RG&E customers should call 800-743-1701.