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Residents Urged to Prepare for Significant Snow Forecast Over Next Two Days

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Residents Urged to Prepare for Significant Snow Forecast Over Next Two Days

Monday, January 31, 2011
The Tompkins County Department of Emergency Response is alerting residents to significant snow forecast for the area between tonight and late Wednesday. The National Weather Service/Binghamton advises total snow accumulations in the area could reach as much as 20 inches by the time the storm ends on Wednesday.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory in effect from midnight tonight through 5 p.m. Tuesday, and a Winter Storm Warning for heavy snow from midnight Tuesday night through 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The Weather Service predicts an initial 3-6 inches of snow, with the heaviest snowfall from the first phase expected at around 6 a.m. Tuesday, then tapering off by midday. Then, Tuesday night, after midnight, from the Southern Tier north, at least another 10-15 inches of snow is expected (depending on storm track), with the heaviest snow occurring at around 6-7 a.m. Wednesday. The Weather Service advises snowfall rates could reach 2-3 inches per hour during Wednesday morning.

To prepare and protect themselves, the Department of Emergency Response urges residents to:

Stay informed: Listen to local television and radio stations or the NOAA weather radio for the most current information. The fastest and best way to get emergency information is from NY-Alert, the State's and County's all-hazards alert and notification system. To subscribe to this free service, visit www.nyalert.gov.

Be prepared: Keep enough food and water on hand for 72 hours. Make sure vehicles are stocked with survival gear such as blankets, shovel, flashlight and extra batteries, jumper cables and energy foods.

If you must drive, do so carefully: Make sure driving speed is appropriate for the conditions and that all snow is cleared from the windows so vision is clear. Plan stops accordingly, keeping more distance between vehicles. Never follow a snow plow too closely or attempt to pass one.

Use caution when shoveling: Clearing heavy wet snow in cold temperatures can put extra strain on the heart, increasing the risk of heart attacks. Dress in layers and take frequent breaks to avoid overexertion. If you feel chest pain, stop and call 911 immediately.

Stay away from downed power lines: Even lines that appear dead can be deadly. Report them to the utility company or call 911 if they pose an immediate danger.

When using generators, run them outside and away from structures. Carbon monoxide gas can spread through enclosed spaces. If using an alternate heating source, do so according to the manufacturers recommendations.

For a list of recommended supplies and other pointers on how to prepare for an emergency, visit the County's emergency preparedness web site at www.tompkinsready.org.