The state may need to close major highways when a storm that could be bring more than one foot of snow to parts of New York hits Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
Cuomo said that Interstate 84 downstate and the state Thruway between the New York City area and Albany maybe particularly troublesome spots, as well as the Long Island Expressway. Forecasters are predicting as much as 14 inches of snow in the Rochester area and up to 10 inches of snow in the lower Hudson Valley.
Cuomo said that state resources may be stretched thin starting Thursday as it responds to two major storms: one sweeping west to east from western New York, to the Southern Tier and to the Albany area.
A coastal storm, meanwhile, is expected to hit Long Island, New York City and the Hudson Valley.
Cuomo urged commuters to take precautions and prepare for the possibility of road closures on their trip back home Thursday evening. He encouraged New Yorkers to use mass transit if possible.
“We don’t want people in a situation where they’ve used their vehicle to commute in the morning and now they can’t get home because the roadways are closed,” Cuomo said. “So that should be taken into consideration when you are making your travel plans tomorrow morning.”
As much as 10 inches of snow could hit parts of the lower Hudson Valley, and a winter storm warning is in effect for the area from 6 p.m. Thursday until 1 p.m. Friday for southern Westchester.
The warning is in place from 4 a.m. Thursday to 1 a.m. Friday for northern Westchester, Putnam and Rockland.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for the mid-Hudson Valley Wednesday night through Friday morning. Meteorologists were calling for light to moderate snow during the morning commute Thursday and then to remain steady over a 24-hour period.
“It doesn’t look like a blockbuster in the sense that it is going to be coming down gangbusters,” Hugh Johnson, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany, said Wednesday. “It’s going to be light to occasionally moderate as far as snowfall rates, but it is going to be over a long period. It’s going to be over 24 or more hours. Even if you get half an inch an hour for 24 hours, that is a foot.”
In the Southern Tier, Broome, Tioga and Tompkins counties could see as much as 6 to 8 inches of snow, while Chemung County may get 4 to 6 inches, forecasters predicted.