It looks like there will be plenty of winter weather this weekend as the season officially kicks off Friday. And as YNN's Kaitlyn Lionti tells us, road crews say they're ready to help drivers get where they need to safely.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — The salt barns are stocked, the plows are ready and the state Thruway Authority has employees covering the roadway 24-7.
"We have people out there patrolling all the time so when the weather does hit, we know we're ready to take care of it and address the storm," said Tom Pericak of the Thruway Authority's Buffalo Division.
The state Department of Transportation says it's set to handle its share as well - and hopes drivers will do their part once the snow falls.
"Everyone needs to take their time, slow down, leave extra time and drive appropriate for the weather conditions," said Susan Surdej of the DOT.
Winter conditions made the Thruway a nightmare for drivers two years ago, stranding some for 24 hours.
But Pericak says since then, the Authority has taken steps to make sure they can close the Thruway more quickly when Mother Nature makes it necessary.
"What we've done is we've installed ramp gates at several locations so we don't need someone physically sitting in a car, they can simply go out and close the gate and move on to the next location," Pericak.
He says the Thruway Authority has also improved communication with State Police and their partners in counties and towns so they can help the process.
They've also installed some movable median barriers.
"We can open up the median basically and U-turn traffic to get them out of there if they do become stuck," he said.
And, as plows work to clear the way, the DOT says it's never a good idea to pass them.
"Obviously, the areas in front of the snow plow are not plowed, so you don't want to be there," said Surdej.
Since the weather can change pretty quickly, officials recommend drivers plan ahead before they head out.
"'Cause as we all know in Western New York, you could be sitting at home and the sun shining outside and then you go to drive to the mall or a store and the next thing you know you're in the middle of a snow storm," said Pericak.