News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday declared a state of emergency for Long Island, New York City, and the Mid-Hudson Valley region which will be slammed by a foot of snow, ice and rain.
He said snow will range from a foot to 16 inches in some areas with Long Island catching much of the brunt. Ten inches of snow is forecast for New York City. The storm is expected to continue until 6 a.m. Friday.
Cuomo hadn’t closed any roads as of early Thursday afternoon, but said he will monitor the rate of snowfall and how slippery the roads are, including the Long Island Expressway. Closures are possible any time during the day and overnight, he said.
No major accidents were reported statewide.
“The curve ball to this storm seems to be its duration,” Cuomo said.
So many New Yorkers stayed home Thursday that morning traffic volume was light in the early stages of the storm, he said. That helps snow removal, but he said the snowfall rate of 2 to 3 inches or more an hour is too fast to fully clear roads.
“That makes it virtually impossible to keep up with the snowfall,” he said. “So the roads are dangerous.”
He said the state and local governments have an adequate supply of road salt for the storm.
“I want to make sure that people take it seriously,” Cuomo told reporters. “Don’t get cocky about it and don’t take it casually because any one of (these winter storms) could generate loss of life.”
Cuomo said the frequency of this winter’s storms has sapped the state snow-fighting budget as well as those of some local governments. But he said governments will adjust.
He said he will err on the side of caution and won’t hesitate to close roads, despite some criticism for his closing of Interstate 84 in the Hudson Valley and the Long Island Expressway.
“Every time you close a road … and nobody gets hurt, the second-guessers say, ‘Maybe you didn’t have to close the road,’” Cuomo said. “It looks simple because no one gets hurt … it’s one of those things where they can second-guess you either way.”