ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Governor Hochul held a press conference in Latham on Friday after declaring a state of emergency due to the winter storm.
She also discussed the flash-freezing events, high winds, and the lake effect snow hitting Western New York. Due to this, the ban on driving commercial vehicles during the storm has been expanded to all vehicles in Erie County.
“This is a life-threatening, dangerous event. Protect yourselves, protect your families, do not travel until the roads are re-opened and you know it’s safe.” Governor Hochul said. “I know there is a strong desire to be with loved ones at this time, but the lives of your loved ones and yourself come first.”
Hochul also explained that the flash freezing and the icy roads will be taking place throughout the weekend — urging those to restrict unnecessary travel and those who are traveling to be prepared with survival items like blankets, flashlights, a full tank of gas, food, and water.
Marie-Therese Dominguez, the Commissioner of the Department of Transportation, said that operators, mechanics, and snow plows are set to be deployed throughout the storm.
“We’re going to be at it until this is actually done. This may take a few days here,” said Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez of the New York State Department of Transportation. “For the traveling public, if you have to be out: don’t. Try not to go outside, we really need you off the roads.”
In addition, all commercial vehicles have been banned from the New York State Thruway from Exit 46 (Henrietta) to the Pennsylvania border until further notice, according to the New York State Thruway.
If drivers see a downed power line, state officials say to not approach the power line. If you lose power, many counties throughout New York are setting up warming sites for residents. Officials warn not to weather the cold as it is life-threatening. Additionally, do NOT use a stove as a source of heat.
State officials said that over 7,700 linemen and women were added to utilities — the most that have been added in the administration in preparation for a storm.
This news comes after Mayor Evans declared a state of emergency for Rochester ahead of the winter storm as thousands of customers are without power due to high winds. This occurred after a boil water advisory was issued due to a water main break.
Monroe County officials have also issued a travel advisory for residents in Monroe County. Residents are urged to avoid or limit unnecessary travel as the storm continues.
If traveling, county officials warn drivers of icy roads, high winds, and downed power lines and trees.