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Governor declares state of emergency ahead of ‘epic’ storm

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday declared a state of emergency for the winter storm that is headed for the Capital Region. Courtesy of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Office

ALBANY — Gov. Kathy Hochul advised New Yorkers to refrain from hitting the road and to make preparations as an anticipated winter storm heads our way.

Hochul spoke Monday afternoon about the storm that is expected to bring 8-18 inches of snow to most of the Capital Region and other areas of the state.

A state of emergency has been declared effective 8 p.m. Monday, Hochul said.

Widespread power outages could result from heavy wet snow, gusting winds and downed trees and tree limbs.

The storm is expected to begin late Monday and continue through Wednesday morning.

Driving could be hazardous during the storm, particularly on Tuesday when visibility will be “extremely limited,” according to the governor.

The coming storm is expected to be a high-impact nor’easter, Hochul said at a Latham press conference Monday, after the past two years have had mild winters.

“We are going to make up for some lost time in what will be an epic event,” Hochul said.

She urged New Yorkers to stay home if at all possible.

“There is no reason in the world to have plans to be out tomorrow,” she said Monday. “Today is the day to get ready, to do everything you need to do – stock up on groceries, stock up on batteries, make sure you have enough of everything you need, like additional light sources, because it’s going to be one where we will see serious loss of power.”

She warned New Yorkers not to be complacent about the storm.

“This could be deadly – that is the message that we are here to deliver today,” Hochul said.

“This will be a dangerous storm. Please stay off the road for your safety. Stay in your home,” she added.

One hundred National Guard members have been positioned in the Capital Region to respond in the event they are needed, the governor said. Utility crews have also been brought in from as far away as Canada to assist during power outages.

After rain and light snow throughout the day Monday, precipitation is expected to get heavy late Monday, at times falling at a rate of as much as 2 to 3 inches of snow an hour and continuing through Tuesday morning.

“This is going to come down like a brick,” she said, adding the weight of the wet, heavy snow is expected to bring down power lines “across a very large geographic area.”

Winds reaching as high as 45 miles an hour are expected to intensify the effects of the storm.

“That’s when you get the lack of visibility and the inability for us to drive safely on the roads, so we are asking everyone to stay home and let the plows do what they do, with very limited visibility,” Hochul said.

All state employees who are able to work from home Tuesday are urged to do so, Hochul said, and other employers are encouraged to permit workers to work from home as well.

She also urged New Yorkers to be careful when shoveling, as the storm’s snow is expected to be about 50% heavier than a usual snowstorm.

“This can be a trigger for heart attacks. That is often the number one cause of fatalities during snow events – heart attacks from shoveling snow,” Hochul said. “That is during a normal event — this is an extraordinary event. This is an event where the snow is going to be so much heavier.”

As of 2 p.m. Monday, the Greenville school district announced classes would continue as normal but all after-school events and programs were canceled for Monday and the board of education’s Monday meeting has been rescheduled for next Monday, March 20.

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