The wintry weather is considered a possible contributing factor to a fatal accident Monday afternoon in Gates.
The massive winter storm dumped several inches of snow throughout the country over several days — up to a foot and a half in some parts of New York since moving into the region late Sunday, prompting a state of emergency for seven eastern counties.
In Gates, the one-car crash on Route 531 at I-490 just after 12:30 p.m. left one person, the female driver, dead and two male passengers in critical condition. Monroe County deputies say the sedan was traveling east when it left the road and traveled onto the center median before heading down a ravine and striking a tree.
The sheriff's office says all three are adults, but no ages or other identification have been released as of Monday evening.
Investigators believe weather may have contributed to the crash, but the accident reconstruction team is still working on the case.
“Until we complete the investigation, we won't know for sure,” Captain Samuel Bell said. “It definitely could be a contributing factor, but there could be other factors involved, such as a medical event, distracted driving or whatnot — so obviously, with the snow and slippery roads, that could be a contributing factor but we won't know a final determination until this is all complete.”
Snowfall totals have varied across with state, with the Capital region and upper portions of the mid-Hudson Valley seeing the greatest totals.
The city of Schenectady saw 18 inches, while Albany was hit with 14 inches as of Monday morning. An additional four to six inches is expected to hit the region before the storm clears early Tuesday morning.
A travel advisory in Ontario County was lifted Monday morning, with Sheriff Kevin Henderson reminding motorists to be aware of slippery road conditions and use appropriate speeds, clean their car of all snow and ice, and move over for emergency vehicles and tow trucks.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday declared a state of emergency for Ulster, Schenectady, Saratoga, Renneslear, Greene, Columbia and Albany counties. The declaration will allow "more flexibility" for local governments to utilize state resources where needed, Cuomo said.
"A declaration of a state of emergency allows more flexibility for the state government, working with the local governments, to make sure we can deploy resources where we need to deploy resources," Cuomo said.
The state will also be deploying 300 National Guard members to assist with snow removal and other cleanup measures.
In addition to deploying 300 National Guard members, the state has 4,200 plow operators at its disposal, including 300 in the Mid-Hudson Valley.
The state also has half-a-million pounds of salt available to municipalities that need it.
"There's a variance in the forecasts and the reality, so we'll plan accordingly," Cuomo said.
According to NYSEG, more than 44,000 customers had been impacted and more than 7,000 remained without power as of 7 p.m. Monday in locations in the Southern Tier and Twin Tiers areas, including portions of Steuben, Wyoming, Schuyler, Allegany and Cattaraugus counties. The damage mostly comes from heavy wet snow bringing down trees and limbs onto power lines and other electrical equipment.