The New York National Guard had 394 soldiers on duty this morning as New York City, Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley entered the second day of a three-day weather event.
New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo called out the National Guard troops as part of a coordinated New York State response. He declared a state of emergency yesterday and banned travel on major roadways last night. New York City and regional transit systems also were shut down.
“With forecasts showing a potentially historic blizzard for Long Island, New York City, and parts of the Hudson Valley, we are preparing for the worst and I urge all New Yorkers to do the same — take this storm seriously and put safety first,” the governor said yesterday.
States of emergency also were declared in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island as of this morning.
This morning, conditions in New York City and the Hudson Valley were better than expected, Cuomo said during a news conference. The travel bans put in place Monday night were lifted in much of the region. However, snow conditions on eastern Long Island were considerably heavier, he added, cautioning state residents to continue avoiding unnecessary travel.
Humvees Positioned at Fire Stations
Fifty National Guard soldiers positioned 25 Humvees at fire stations across New York City’s five boroughs to support emergency medical technicians. The National Guard soldiers are there to drive EMTs to locations on roads that may become otherwise impassable due to high snow accumulations. Six high-axle trucks also were available to the New York City Fire Department to move patients for short distances on snow-clogged side streets if ambulances cannot get down the streets.
On Long Island and in the Hudson Valley, New York National Guard soldiers and airmen were on hand to provide mobility for New York State Police if necessary.
Engineer equipment was moved into the region from 204th Engineer Battalion units in Kingston, Binghamton, Horseheads, and Buffalo. Soldiers from the 152nd Engineer Company in Buffalo, who were the first National Guard responders when Erie County was pounded with seven-foot lake-effect snows in November, were dispatched to the Hudson Valley to assist downstate New Yorkers.
Tractor-trailers on Hand
National Guard tractor-trailers were on hand on Long Island to assist in moving state emergency supplies if requested.
Some 97 pieces of equipment, including 75 high-axle trucks and Humvees, were dedicated to the National Guard response mission. Twelve dump trucks, four front-end loaders and seven small skid-steer loaders also were assigned to provide support if necessary.
At F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton, pararescue airmen assigned to the New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing prepared snowmobiles for use if they’re needed. Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and Air National Guard HH-60 Pave Hawk rescue helicopters also were ready.
Guard members in other affected states were prepared to assist as needed. Twenty soldiers are available in Connecticut and 150 in Pennsylvania, National Guard Bureau officials said.