ALBANY – New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in the face of a storm that could have wind gusts up to 75 mph lashing the region, has activated 100 National Guard Troops to help clear debris once the storm is active. Cuomo also has banned empty tractor-trailers and empty tandems from portions of the New York State Thruway.
Cuomo visited Hamburg to announce his preparations for the wind and storm conditions.
“Wind in and of itself is a problem. Wind plus lake effect snow is a worse problem. The wind is forecasted to be 40 to 45 miles per hour on a sustained level, and gusts up to 75 miles per hour,” Cuomo warned. “That is a significant amount of wind, and that is nothing to be trifled with. I know Erie County, we’re tough, we’re hearty, but 75 miles an hour winds are something to be taken very, very seriously. And we are. And we’re preparing for them now.”
He went on to say power outages are to be expected in the storm-hit areas.
“With the wind comes a possibility of power outages. We are getting prepared for that possibility. We have spoken to all the utility companies, they are on notice. We’ve spoken to the surrounding states for additional power utility companies to send their teams, need be. And we’re redeploying assets from downstate where this storm is not really affecting the downstate area to redeploy those teams to Western New York if we need them,” he said.
While Cuomo assured the public that utility companies will respond accordingly, he also blasted them for past efforts he found to be lacking.
“There is obviously, when you have a high wind storm, trees break, polls break, and lines come down. The question is how fast it takes to restore that power. And in the past frankly, I believe our utility companies have not done all they need to do to both get the recovery effort up and running quickly and to communicate the status to the utility customers. People understand delays. They don’t understand delays when they’re not given any information as to when to expect the power back.
“I’ve also told the utility companies that, the question now is not how they provide service when the sun is shining. That’s easy. The question for utility companies now is how you respond to these storms. And these storms now are nothing new. Right? We’ve gone through this for several years. And we expect the utility companies to be staffed and proficient and ready to respond to these significant storms on a timely basis. They are regulated by the state Public Service Commission. We have fined them in the past. And we have threatened to revoke their license in the past. So I don’t want them to take that casually.”
Cuomo also instituted an empty tractor-trailer ban that went into effect Sunday morning.
“We hope for the best but we prepare for the worst and that’s what we’re doing here. We have thousands of personnel on standby. We have National Guard on standby. We have hundreds of pieces of equipment that are on standby ready to come to Western New York. The state is very good that way. Western New York has come to the rescue of downstate New York many, many times,” he said.