By: Joe Kuhn
County Executive Ed Day has issued a State of Emergency banning travel on all county and local roads for all but essential business, which began at 6:00 AM Monday morning. Executive Day’s ban precedes similar measures from Governor Andrew Cuomo who has locked down most of southern New York in response to the storm.
The U.S. National Weather Service has put in place a Winter Storm Warning from 12:00 AM, Monday, Feb 1 to 6:00 AM, Tuesday, Febr 2. Heavy snow is expected with total snow accumulations of 18 to 24 inches predicted and winds gusting as high as 35 mph.
“Travel during the storm will be near impossible with blizzard like conditions expected throughout Monday. We need residents to stay home, keep the roads clear for emergency responders and let our Highway crews do their job,” said Executive Day.
County government is open and vital services shall continue.
The Rockland County Department of Public Transportation has suspended TOR (Transport of Rockland) service until further notice as of 4:00 a.m. on Monday, Feb 1. TRIPS service is also cancelled for Monday, Feb 1.
The Rockland County Department of Health has canceled all clinics scheduled for Monday, though no Covid-19 vaccinations were scheduled.
“We need everyone to stay off the roads during this dangerous storm. Please don’t go out until we end this State of Emergency which will be lifted as soon as conditions warrant,” said Day.
As the southern half of the state faces near whiteout conditions, Governor Cuomo declared a state of emergency in 44 counties including declared a state of emergency in New York City as wells as Rockland and Westchester.
The state has warned that both above ground subway service, and service on portions of the Long Island Railroad and Metro-North, may be significantly delayed or stopped this afternoon. Additionally, a number of major roadways including the Long Island Expressway, I-84, Taconic Parkway and others could face travel bans if snowfall rates reach the expected two to three inch per hour rate. “At that rate even the snow plows can’t keep and keep the roads clear” explained Cuomo
“If you’re planning on using one of those (roads) leave as soon as possible, we don’t know when were going to need to close them” warned the governor. Outdoor subway services are to be suspended at 2pm. The Port Authority Trans Hudson Line will be suspended at 3pm. Busses are still operating, but the governor expects that to change as conditions “continue you to deteriorate.”
The storm, which was already dumping snow on Rockland at around nine o’clock last night, is expected to be a long-duration event with snow spreading northward today into tonight and continuing for some places through Wednesday morning, especially parts of the North Country, Southern Tier and Central NY.
The highest snow totals are expected in the New York City, Long Island, and Mid-Hudson Regions where some places could see up to two feet of snow by Tuesday morning.
Snowfall rates are expected to increase to 1-3 inches per hour later this morning as the storm progresses northward. Blowing and drifting snow will likely cause reduced visibility and treacherous driving conditions throughout the state. Both Cuomo and Day have stressed that only essential and emergency workers should be traveling during the storm and strongly discourage travel.
On a brighter note, Governor Cuomo concluded his briefing on the storm by informing the press that the state wide Covid-19 positivity rate has now dropped to 4.8%. That announcement marks 24 straight days of decline in the seven-day average.
New Yorkers can check the states’ website for up to date information on road and public transit closures