State Personnel and Resources Have Already Removed Hundreds of Tons of Ice from Sites Throughout Upstate
Warmer Temperatures Forecasted for Weekend May Lead to Additional Flooding
Announcement Follows a Conference Call the Governor Held with Nearly 100 County and Local Officials to Coordinate Response Efforts
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today deployed assessment teams to nearly 50 ice jams and flooded areas that have occurred following the drastic fluctuations in temperature and precipitation that New York has experienced over the past several weeks. While the melt has slowed thanks to the recent drop in temperature, warmer temperatures and rain are expected to arrive upstate this weekend. With this increased risk of flooding, these assessments will play a critical role in supporting both state and local preparations. This announcement follows a conference call held by Governor Cuomo with nearly 100 county and local officials from across the state to discuss the state's response and ensure localities have the resources they need
"This pattern of freezing and warming temperatures is causing flooding and ice jams on streams and rivers statewide that threaten our communities," Governor Cuomo said. "I have directed National Guard and state resources to be ready in advance, and I urge all New Yorkers to stay tuned into local weather reports and prepare for potential flooding into the weekend."
Assessment teams will not only be assessing the current state of a given location, but in some cases, utilizing drone technology to expand their view both upstream and downstream in order to identify additional areas of concern. Each team will vary in size and consist of officials from the New York State Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services and State Police.
Since the ice jams first occurred, the Governor has dispatched a wide array of resources and personnel from a range of state agencies to assist local governments in their response. Those resources remain deployed and continue to be shifted and expanded has the conditions require.
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services is prepared to respond to requests for assistance with assets from its stockpiles, including:
- 766 generators
- 259 light towers
- 1,283 pumps
- 10 sandbaggers
- More than 1,042,451 sandbags
- More than 46,700 ready-to-eat meals
- Nearly70,000 bottles and 348,000 cans of water
- More than 9,000 cots
- Approximately 12,000 blankets and pillows
- Over 4,000 flashlights
- 960 traffic barriers
- 594 traffic barrels
- More than 6,800 feet of aqua dam.
Division of Military and Naval Affairs
The New York National Guard has 140 Soldiers and Airmen and 31 vehicles -both humvees and high axle trucks--committed to the flooding response mission.
Teams prepared to deploy are:
- 22 Soldiers from the 427th Brigade Support Battalion and five vehicles are on duty at the Thompson Road Armory in Syracuse.
- 27 Airmen from the 174th Attack Wing and five vehicles are on duty at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse.
- 25 Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry and 8 vehicles are on duty at the New York State Armory in Utica.
- 23 Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry and 8 Vehicles are on duty at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Scotia.
- 11 Soldiers from the 153rd Troop Command and five vehicles are on duty at the New York State Armory in Binghamton.
- The other personnel are providing maintenance and logistics support and command and control for the mission at various locations.
Department of Transportation
The New York State Department of Transportation staff are on alert and flood watches are in effect at critical points with a history of flooding. The Department is working with state and local partners to respond to any flooding impacts immediately. Currently, the Department has an excavator on site in Fort Covington in Franklin County to clear ice.
Additionally, Route 418 in the town of Thurman, Warren County, has been re-opened as a single, alternating lane of traffic following Hudson River flooding caused by ice jams. The Department worked in cooperation with state and local partners, has cleared an estimated 40 tons of ice from the road and shoulder since Monday. The road had been closed since January 13.
Earlier this month, the Department worked with its partners at the Department of Environmental Conservation, and Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to assist the Village of Whitesboro in Oneida County when ice jams caused water to be swept over the banks of the Sauquoit Creek and impact a CSX rail bridge. While the waters have receded somewhat, it remains an area of concern and the Department is actively engaged with CSX and the Department of Environmental Conservation on potential preventive measures to mitigate flooding in the future.
Motorists are reminded to check 511NY by calling 511, or visiting www.511ny.org before traveling. The free service allows users to check road conditions and transit information. Mobile users can download the free 511NY mobile app from the iTunes or Google Play stores. The app features Drive mode, which provides audible alerts along a chosen route while (a user is driving, warning them about incidents and construction. Users can set a destination prior to departing and receive information on up to three routes.
Department of Environmental Conservation
The State Department of Environmental Conservation continues to work with partner agencies and localities throughout the state to respond to flooding and ice jams. Currently, the Department has deployed drone technology to assist with the assessment of ice jam. Additionally, FEMA flood plain maps and professional experience are being utilized to identify flood prone areas, including creeks and streams, where snow melt and rain could cause damaging flooding. DEC will monitor stream level forecasts and flood gages on creeks, streams, and rivers to assess flooding risks and respond to potential flooding that would activate any of the 106 Flood Control Projects DEC maintains and operates across New York State. DEC is also surveying conditions and coordinating with sister state agencies to anticipate, alert and respond to any known ice jam conditions and associated flood risks. DEC is also monitoring wastewater treatment plants throughout the state, based on risk conditions and staff are ready to respond to any emergencies caused by flooding.
Thruway Authority staff are monitoring the roadway and bridges for any potential flooding or debris. Maintenance crews are on 24/7 shifts and are ready to address any issues. The Thruway stands at the ready to deploy staff and resources if called upon.
The Thruway Authority encourages motorists to download its mobile app which is available to download for free on iPhone and Android devices. The app provides motorists direct access to real-time traffic and navigation assistance while on the go. Motorists can also sign up for TRANSalert e-mails which provide the latest traffic conditions along the Thruway here. For real-time updates, motorists can follow @ThruwayTraffic on Twitter or by visiting www.thruway.ny.gov to see an interactive map showing traffic conditions for the Thruway and other New York State roadways.
New York Canal Corporation
NYPA continues to monitor conditions and remains in constant contact with emergency management officials. Additionally, Canal staff continues to communicate with water management and hydropower entities along the New York State Canal system regarding changes in releases and conditions as well as developing hazards.
The Canal Corporation has taken pre-emptive actions statewide to mitigate potential flood impacts throughout Canal System and staff are closely monitoring known ice jam locations including known ice jam locations along Lock E7-8 pool along the Mohawk River in the Capital Region, Fish Creek below Lock E22 near Sylvan Beach in the Central New York Region, the Upper Hudson River near Warrensburg and the Upper Hoosic River near Hoosick Falls in the Capital Region, West Canada Creek below Kast Bridge in the Village of Herkimer adjacent the non-canalized Mohawk River below Herkimer Dam in the Mohawk Valley Region, and Canandaigua Outlet near Lock E-27 in the Finger Lakes Region, as well as other high gradient streams tributary to the Canal.
New York State Police
The New York State Police is prepared to add additional patrols to affected areas as needed, and all available 4X4 vehicles will be in use. All specialized resources, including aircraft and boats, will be staged and ready for deployment.
Below are flood preparation safety tips:
- Learn the safest route from your home or business to high, safe ground should you have to leave in a hurry.
- Develop and practice a 'family escape' plan and identify a meeting place if family members become separated.
- Make an itemized list - as well as potentially photo and video documentation -- of all valuables including furnishings, clothing and other personal property. Keep the list in a safe place.
- Stockpile emergency supplies of canned food, medicine and first aid supplies and drinking water. Store drinking water in clean, closed containers
- Plan what to do with your pets.
- Have a portable radio, flashlights, extra batteries and emergency cooking equipment available.
- Keep your automobile fueled. If electric power is cut off, gasoline stations may not be able to pump fuel for several days. Have a small disaster supply kit in the trunk of your car.
- Find out how many feet your property is above and below possible flood levels. When predicted flood levels are broadcast, you can determine if you may be flooded.
- Keep materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber handy for emergency water-proofing.
- Check on your insurance coverage. Homeowners' insurance policies generally do not cover flood damages. Only flood insurance can protect your home against flood damages. You can purchase flood insurance whether or not you live in a mapped flood zone.
For a list of complete list of weather terms and preparation ideas before during and after a flood, visit the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services website at www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/safety-info/flood/floodprepare.cfm.
Ice jams are pieces of floating ice carried with a stream's current can accumulate behind any obstruction to the stream flow. Obstructions include river bends, mouths of tributaries, points where the river slope decreases, as well as dams and bridges. The water held back can cause flooding upstream, and if the obstruction suddenly breaks, flash flooding can occur downstream. There are 2 main types of ice jams: freeze-up ice jams and break-up ice jams. Freeze-up jams happen when extremely cold air temperatures occur over open water. This results in the rapid production of large amounts of river ice that can jam downstream. Break-up jams account for about 2/3 of local ice jams, and occur when rapid thaw and/or runoff entering the river system break the existing ice cover and cause jamming downstream.
Ice jams are of two forms: Freeze up and Break up. Freeze up jams usually occur early to mid-winter during extremely cold weather. Break up jams usually occur mid to late winter with thaws.
Rainfall/snowmelt with a thaw will enhance the potential for break up jams as rising water helps to lift and break up the ice. A very short thaw with little or no rain/snowmelt may not be enough to break up thick ice.