Updated: Southern Tier Begins Clean-Up, Lifts Travel Ban


Updated — 12/17/20, 4:10 P.M.

BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) — Wednesday’s winter storm dropped over three feet of snow on some parts of Broome and Tioga counties. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced 18 counties in the Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley and Capital regions are under a state of emergency.

A snow removal truck awaits assistance after becoming stuck in the snow as residents work to clear sidewalks in Binghamton, N.Y. on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

According to the National Weather Service, the snow accumulations near the Greater Binghamton Airport reached 40 inches, breaking the all-time record for two-day snowfall. The previous record was set in March 2017, when 35.3 inches of snow developed over two days.

A record-shattering 5.5 inches per hour fell between midnight and 4:00 A.M.

The Department of Transportation is deploying more than 1,600 large snowplows throughout New York State.

During a briefing today, Cuomo urged New Yorkers to stay off the roads as driving conditions remain extremely dangerous.

“If you do not have to be on the roads, please don’t travel today,” the governor said.

Early this morning, Broome County announced a travel ban for all non-essential vehicles. It was lifted today at 4:00 P.M., but Broome County Executive Jason Garnar said a “no unnecessary travel” order remains in effect indefinitely.

“Do not travel unless you have to,” Garnar repeated. “If you work, then you should report to work unless told otherwise, but you should use caution.”*

The state will also deploy 12 snowplow operators to the Southern Tier, as well as two equipment operators.

Mike Ponticello, Broome County Emergency Services Director, said the state’s emergency management department is working to obtain additional assistance for the county.

More four-wheel-drive vehicles and other snow removal resources are expected to come to Broome County from the Syracuse area.

The storm caused over 100 power outages across the Broome County area and left many cars stranded and abandoned.

Ponticello said the biggest challenge, now, is ensuring health care workers can travel to their hospitals and nursing homes.

“The big issue is getting to the hospitals,” Ponticello said. “We’ve been pairing plow trucks with ambulances.”

On Thursday, law enforcement assisted in transporting nurses and doctors to work. Plows were available throughout the storm and into Thursday to help EMS responders answer 911 calls.

Counties under the governor’s state of emergency order include Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Otsego and Tioga.