Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency across New York as a major winter storm has already started to bring heavy snow, sub-zero temperatures, and high winds across the state, an official statement said.
A state of emergency mobilises resources to local governments that otherwise are restricted to state use only, and allows the governor to suspend laws and regulations that would impede rapid response, Xinhua reported Thursday citing the statement.
The governor urged New Yorkers to avoid travelling and stay inside their homes until the worst of the storm has passed.
“As this winter storm unfolds, bringing heavy snow and high winds to many parts of the state, I strongly urge all New Yorkers to exercise caution, avoid travel, and stay indoors,” Cuomo said.
The four New York City airports are open, but airlines are operating on a significantly reduced schedule, with more than 412 flights cancelled as of mid-afternoon.
Crews are applying anti-icing chemicals to runways and taxiways to keep them free of ice, said the governor’s Office.
In the event that some travellers become stranded, airport personnel are preparing cots, blankets and other essentials to assist customers.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority advises customers that cold temperatures and blowing snow may require suspension of some portions of the region’s bus and commuter train operations, in order to protect customers and employees.
The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and New York State Thruway Authority said ploughs are available state-wide to clear snow and treat roads with salt.