State of emergency declared in New York State ahead of winter storm

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New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday declared a statewide state of emergency as a major winter storm has already started to bring heavy snow, sub- zero temperatures and high winds across New York State.

A state of emergency mobilizes 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.

The governor urged New Yorkers to avoid traveling 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 travelers become stranded, airport personnel are preparing cots, blankets and other essentials to assist customers. All air travelers are urged to check with their carriers before traveling to the airport.

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 plows are available statewide to clear snow and treat roads with salt and are sending additional plows to assist with snow operations in Long Island.

NYSDOT has private contractors on standby with additional equipment and personnel to be deployed as necessary. Endite

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