Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro offered the following update about the County’s response to Winter Storm Stella. The County Executive stated, “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. There is great deal more work to be done over the coming days as we address the impacts of this massive storm and appreciate the public’s continued patience and caution.”
Dutchess County Government/ Emergency Operations Center March 15th Update following Winter Storm Stella:
- Travel ban on public roadways was lifted at 4am today 3/15. The public is urged to continue to avoid travel if possible, but for those who need to drive, 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.
- Ban on parking on all public roadways continues until 4pm today 3/15 under County Executive Molinaro’s State of Emergency order to assist with snow removal efforts.
- Dutchess County Government offices and facilities, including all DMV offices, courts, senior friendship centers, and parks, are closed today. 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 and today.
- DC Public Transit bus service is running all regular route schedules today, but there are delays on all routes. Dial-A-Ride and Flex service are cancelled today.
- Dutchess County Department of Public Works highway crews have been on county roadways since the start of the storm at 1am on Tuesday, March 14th. County roadways are reported in good condition, with crews continuing to work today applying materials for icy conditions as well as pushing back snow banks and opening up visibility at intersections.
- The Dutchess County Emergency Operations Center has been operational since Monday evening, monitoring the storm and directing resources as necessary. Multiple state, county and utility agencies were represented in the EOC during the storm including Dutchess County Departments of Emergency Response, Public Works, Community & Family Services, Behavioral and Community Health, Planning, the Sheriff’s Office and County Executive’s Office. There were also representatives from New York State Police and New York State Office of Emergency Management as well as Central Hudson. The EOC will remain partially activated with limited coverage throughout today as well.
- The Dutchess County 911 Communications Center had below average call volume throughout the day yesterday as the public heeded the travel ban and stayed off the roads. Call volume remains typical for an average day today, however medical calls are on the rise. The public is urged to use caution with snowblowers and to avoid over exertion while snow shoveling.
- The County Executive has coordinated four municipal leader conference calls over the course of the storm to address specific needs as possible. There was also communications with Dutchess County school superintendents, resulting in the decision to keep all Dutchess County school closed today for student safety as crews address snow banks where children normally wait for buses.
- Dutchess County has coordinated with all the local municipalities a “request for assets” to be deployed by New York 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. New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) District 8 has assembled a task force to reallocate assets that had been originally deployed to Region 10 (Long Island) where the storm had originally been forecasted to be most severe. Dutchess County Department of Public Works has been notified that NYS DOT expects to have assets in Dutchess County by noon today (3/15) to focus specifically in the City of Beacon and Poughkeepsie.
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. Clearing roofs is a dangerous task, always put safety first!
- 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.
- Other important safety tips:
- The Dutchess County Department of Public Works reminds people never to build tunnels or forts underneath roadside snow banks. Snow removal crews may not be able to see children playing in the snowbanks, and cave-ins are also possible.
- Emergency responders need your help clearing out fire hydrants. Clear out the nearest fire hydrant. The life or home you save may be your own!
For continued updates, please follow the County’s social media pages on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dutchess-County-Government/73646813346 or Twitter at http://twitter.com/DutchessCoGov.