State of emergency declared after winter storm closes schools, causes traffic problems

Feb 5, 2014

A fast moving winter storm is dumping heavy snow along the Southern Tier early this morning and could leave a foot or more of snow on the ground by this evening. 

Update (10:45 a.m.): Utica mayor Robert Palmieri has declared a snow emergency in the city of Utica, effective at 10 p.m. Wednesday, until further notice. According to the mayor's office, all cars must be off city streets so crews can remove snow from the streets. Vehicles left on city streets may be ticketed and towed at the owners expense. 

Update (9:30 a.m.): Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency for all of New York state, citing poor driving conditions and a lack of road salt for crews to adequately clear roads. All of Interstate 84 that runs from Pennsylvania to Connecticut has been closed due to the ice and snow.

"Mother Nature always wins in the end when she wants, but we've done everything we can do to be ready," Cuomo said this morning on a conference call with reporters.

The state will be distributing road salt from its supply - about 130 trucks worth - to local municipalities. The New York City and Long Island region is getting freezing rain and ice buildup is causing power outages.

There are no large power outages being reported in central New York. Minor traffic accidents have been reported in the region this morning.

Update (7:20 a.m.): According to the National Weather Service, 3 inches of snow had fallen at the Syracuse's Hancock Airport by 7 a.m. Binghamton has received nearly a foot of snow since the storm began early this morning.

As expected, the snow is causing significant traffic delays this morning. The NYS Thruway Authority reports several accidents along the thruway. Accidents have also been reported on routes 81, 481 and 690 in central New York. 

Centro is operating on snow routes around the Syracuse area. Several flights in and out of Hancock Airport in Syracuse have been canceled or delayed. Check the schedule here. 


Heavy snow began falling south of Syracuse around 1 a.m. today. According to the National Weather Service, Binghamton received 7.5 inches of snow in just 2 1/2 hours earlier this morning. That heavy snow is expected to move north and could impact the Syracuse area later this morning.

The snow has already caused some schools, including the Syracuse City School District, to cancel classes for the day. Click here for our updated list of weather related closings and delays. 

The snow is expected to be heaviest around central New York between 4 a.m. and noon today, with snow showers continuing until this evening. Winter storm warnings remain in effect for all of central New York until 7 p.m. this evening.

To see the latest storm briefing from the National Weather Service's Binghamton office, click here. 

Snowfall accumulation map for central New York by 7 p.m. Wednesday
Credit National Weather Service, Binghamton

Accumulations and forecast

Snow totals from this storm will vary widely around central and northern New York. The immediate Syracuse area could see anywhere from 8-14 inches of new snow by tonight. Areas south and east of Syracuse could see 10-14 inces of snow. Accumulations north of Syracuse will be less. Areas around Oswego County could see 6-8 inches of snow by tonight, while Jefferson County could see 4-6 inches of snow. 

The snow is expected to end around the region by late tonight. Some lake effect snow is expected to develop east of Lake Ontario on Thursday. A lake effect snow watch has been posted for Jefferson and Lewis counties from Thursday afternoon until late Friday night into Saturday morning. 

For the rest of the region, Thursday will be mostly cloudy and colder with some snow showers. Highs on Thursday around 20. Friday will be partly sunny with high temperatures 20-25. 

Stay with WRVO Public Media throughout the day for updates on this winter storm.