The National Weather Service issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook, Winter Weather Advisory and Flood Watch for later today through Thursday.
“A Nor’easter is expected to impact the area late Wednesday into Thursday,” according to the NWS.
Rockland County Emergency Management Coordinator Gordon Wren said it looks like a nasty storm but not severe enough to mobilize the emergency management center. He said weather conditions are being monitored and although it looks like the storm will be tracking more to the north and west, the decision could be made at any time to activate Rockland’s emergency center.
The current forecast calls for snow falling after 2 p.m. that could switch to a mix of snow and sleet between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. as temperatures drop below freezing. Accumulations of one to two inches are possible along with wind gusts up to the 44 miles per hour (mph). Coastal flooding along with flooding in poor drainage areas is possible.
The NWS warns of “Strong winds could down snow and ice covered tree limbs, power lines and holiday decorations and cause minor property damage. Power outages are possible.”
Maria Pollard of Orange & Rockland said staff is ready to respond to the storm from customer service to repair crews because of concerns about icing bringing down lines.
“We have crews on standby and damage assessors on standby for any outages,” said Pollard. “When trouble starts to hit, we’ll be ready to go.”
The precipitation is expected to continue into Thursday morning as rain with winds reaching 32 mph.
In Clarkstown, highway crews are pretreating 60 miles of roads with brine and salt. Highway Superintendent Wayne Ballard said they started at 7 a.m. Wednesday and expect to finish around 2:30 p.m.
In Orangetown, Highway Superintendent Jim Dean said crews began spreading an anti-icing mixture around 8 a.m. along 60 miles of roadways. Around 4 p.m., when the snow was falling steadily, he said they would move onto the next step.
"What we'll be doing now is applying granular salt to all of the streets," he said noting that totals about 200 miles of town, county and state roads.
Pollard reminded residents to call 1-877-434-4100 if they see any down wires and to stay away from them. She said people should consider any downed lines as alive and danger and avoid them. Pollard also advised people to be prepared and have flashlights and blankets handy in case of power outages.
Exercise extreme caution when there are downed power lines. Follow these guidelines from O&R.
- Maintain a distance of at least 50 feet from downed wires and anything they are in contact with such as puddles and fences.
- Keep children inside and pets on a leash.
- Don't drive over downed power lines.
- If a fallen wire is draped over a car, do not approach the car. Remain a safe distance away, try to keep the occupant of the vehicle calm, and wait for emergency personnel to handle the situation.
- If power lines are touching your car, do not get out of your car unless it's on fire. It's best to wait for an emergency response professional to help you. If you have to get out of the car, leap far and free of the vehicle, with no part of your body or clothing touching the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Then shuffle away from the car, keeping both feet close together to minimize the path of electric current and avoid electric shock.