New York State Prepares for Massive Snow Removal Operations
ALBANY, N.Y. --- Gov. Eliot Spitzer has activated elements of the New York State Army National Guard to assist in the massive snow removal operations in Oswego County, and other missions as needed in advance of a forecasted major winter storm.Spitzer also directed state agencies to activate their severe weather plans as a major winter storm was forecast to affect the state starting tonight and continuing throughout much of tomorrow. "While the county and local highway departments and the State Department of Transportation have done an outstanding job keeping the roads open and clear in Oswego County, they will need additional help in combating the additional snow forecast over the next 24 to 36 hours," Spitzer said. "The New York Army National Guard will be a tremendous resource as the state deals with the affects of the storm. With this storm quickly approaching, it is critical that we have the personnel and equipment in place to assist as needed." More than 100 personnel along with 40 vehicles are being deployed from the 204th Engineering Battalion in Binghamton to assist in snow removal operations as directed by the governor. Meanwhile, Spitzer ordered activation of the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC), staffed by state response agencies, to monitor the approaching storm. Representatives from the following agencies will be present to coordinate storm efforts: Division of State Police, Department of Transportation, Thruway Authority, Department of Health, Division of Military and Naval Affairs, Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Correctional Services, Office of Fire Prevention and Control, Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, SEMO and the American Red Cross. Over the past two days, SEMO and other state agencies have been participating in a series of conference calls with local governments and the various National Weather Service offices serving the state to gather information on the approaching storm. Early this evening agencies received a briefing on the various aspects of the storm. Spitzer urged New Yorkers to think about safety in advance of what has been described as a major winter storm. "With high snowfall totals forecast for many areas of the state, New Yorkers should listen to information from local government and heed all advisories and any possible emergency orders," the Spitzer said. Last Thursday, the governor declared a State Disaster Emergency for Oswego County and contiguous areas that have been battered by lake-effect snows since Feb. 2 and disrupted vital public transportation, public health and public safety systems there. As part of his executive order, the governor directed the implementation of the State Disaster Preparedness Plan and ordered state agencies to provide all assistance possible to local governments there. In addition to NYSDOT, which is leading the transportation infrastructure group, and National Guard personnel and equipment, crews from the Department of Correctional Services have been assisting in shoveling out hundreds of fire hydrants. State Police have been working closely with law enforcement throughout the county. Representatives from SEMO, State Police, DOT and Department of Health have been working in the Oswego County EOC.