DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. -- Although the travel ban has been lifted for Dutchess County roads, officials are encouraging residents to only venture out if necessary due to dangerous conditions.
Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro warned that residents who do need to drive should leave extra time and use extreme caution: "Many secondary roads are not in good condition yet and there are very high snow mounds at many intersections making visibility limited," he said.
He added that although Department of Public Works employees have been out throughout the day and overnight, there is still a great deal of work to done in the coming days.
“We are grateful for the cooperation and patience from the public throughout the storm in order to ensure the safety of residents and snow removal crews. We are deeply appreciative to our county DPW highway crews, as well as the state and local municipal crews who have been working long hours throughout the day and night to ensure our roadways are clear and safe to travel," he said.
Residents should take note that the ban on parking on all public roadways will remain in effect until 4 p.m. Wednesday to help with snow removal.
In addition, all Dutchess County Government offices and facilities, including all DMV offices, courts, senior friendship centers, and parks, are closed Wednesday.
The Dutchess County Stabilization Center, 24/7 HELPLINE, and Mobile Crisis Intervention Team, as well as the Medical Examiner’s Office, have remained open and been operating continuously throughout the storm
Public transit is up and running on all regular routes, but there are some delays. Dial-A-Ride and Flex service are canceled for Wednesday.
During the storm, the 911 Communications Center reported that it received below average call volume as the public heeded the travel ban stayed off the road. Call volumes for medical emergencies remained typical for an average day. Residents are urged to use caution with snowblowers and to avoid over exertion while snow shoveling.
The county is working with all the local municipalities for a “request for assets” to be deployed by the state to Dutchess County to assist with snow removal. Dutchess County has been identified as a critical area by the state based on the impacts of the storm, Molinaro said.
New York State Department of Transportation has assembled a task force to reallocate assets that had been originally deployed to Long Island where the storm had originally been forecasted to be most severe. The county DPW said that areas of concentration will include Poughkeepsie and the City of Beacon.
The Dutchess County Department of Emergency Response has a number of safety reminders for residents as they dig out from the snow:
Snow Shoveling Safety -- Be safe when shoveling and remember cold temperatures put an extra strain on the heart. Heavy exertion, such as shoveling snow, clearing debris or pushing a car, can increase the risk of a heart attack. To avoid problems, remember these tips:
- If you begin to have chest discomfort, especially with one or more other signs of heart attack, call 911 right away.
- Stay warm, dress warm and SLOW DOWN when working outdoors.
- Take frequent rests to avoid over exertion and drink fluids.
- Shovel small amounts of snow at a time.
- Push the snow instead of lifting where possible.
- Use proper form if lifting is necessary: keep your back straight and lift with your legs.
Snow Blower Safety -- The majority of snow blower injuries happen because the operator did not read the operating instructions. Please read your machine's manual and follow these tips:
- Never leave your snow blower running and unattended.
- Make sure the discharge chute is not aimed at passing motorists or pedestrians.
- Never put your hands into the discharge chute or augers to clear stuck snow and ice.
- Never add fuel when the engine is running and hot.
- Make sure you know how to turn the machine off quickly.
Clearing Off Rooftops -- With so much snow and ice, many homeowners will be clearing it off their home’s roofs:
- When possible, use long-handled snow rakes or poles.
- If you must use a ladder, make certain that the base is securely anchored. Ask a friend, neighbor or adult family member to hold the ladder while you climb.
- Know where the snow is going to fall before clearing the area.
- Make certain not to contact electrical wires.
- If possible, do not attempt to clear the roof alone.
- If you are afraid of heights or think the job is too big for you, HIRE HELP.
- Vehicles need to be clear of ice and snow, including rooftops. Good vision is a key to good driving. Make sure you have full visibility when driving and make sure there is no snow blowing off from your vehicle to hinder visibility for other drivers on the road.
- Be sure that your exhaust pipe is cleared of snow before warming up your vehicle. A blocked exhaust pipe can cause deadly carbon monoxide to build up in your vehicle.
- Plan your stops and keep more distance between cars. Be extra alert. Match your speed to the road and weather conditions.
- With so much snow, snow banks along driveways and roadways are very high, limiting visibility for vehicles that are pulling onto roadways. Use extra caution when approaching intersections and/or driveways.