September 8, 2011
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Directs Emergency Response to Recent Flooding in Upstate New York

TOP Governor Cuomo Directs Emergency Response to...

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed state emergency resources to the Southern Tier and surrounding counties and requested emergency and major disaster declarations from the federal government, in response to the severe flash flooding and major flood conditions that have developed in portions of the Southern Tier, Southern Finger Lakes, Hudson Valley, Capital Region, Central New York and Southwestern Regions of the State, and many areas previously affected by Hurricane Irene.


"With the recent heavy rains and severe flash flooding, we are on the verge of a crisis and federal assistance is urgently needed to help protect New Yorkers," Governor Cuomo said. "I have directed state resources to areas that are currently experiencing widespread flooding to assist with emergency procedures."


In the last 24 hours, New York has experienced another round of severe weather that rivals and may even exceed the devastation seen in previous flooding events, including the floods of 2006. Communities in eastern and central New York, from the southern Adirondacks to the Pennsylvania border, who were struggling to clean up and rebuild after Irene, are facing another onslaught of devastation. Since yesterday, Tropical Storm Lee has produced in excess of ten inches of rain in some places. This, on top of the rains dumped on New York State last week from Hurricane Irene, is causing major havoc in many places across the State today. To make matters worse, additional heavy rainfall is likely in some of these same locations today.


Many areas across the State, from the Finger Lakes to the Hudson Valley, have experienced significant flooding, declared States of Emergency, and have implemented mandatory evacuations. Broome County has experienced some of the worst impacts, prompting mandatory evacuations in the Village of Johnson City, the Town of West Corners, the Town of Vestal, Town of Union and the Town of Conklin. The City of Binghamton has ordered the mandatory evacuation of approximately 20,000 people. Evacuations have also taken place in the Village of Margaretville in Delaware County and the Village of Middleburgh in Schoharie County.


Major flooding is occurring and will continue for many locations late into this evening. The Susquehanna River at Binghamton reached major flood stage on Wednesday morning and surpassed its record flood stage of 25 feet on Thursday morning. The river is now at 25.3 feet and expected to crest at 26.2 feet by Thursday evening. At Owego, the Susquehanna Rivers record flood stage was 32 feet it is already at 38 feet and expected to crest at near 40 feet later this evening. Also of major concern at this time are the Chenango River, the Unadilla River, and the Oneida Creek, as well as many other areas where major flooding is also forecasted.


An emergency declaration would enable the federal government to provide assistance and resources to New York State and local governments to support activities related to evacuation, sheltering, and other protective measures. The declaration would provide New York with technical assistance at no cost from any federal agency in support of the states response to the flooding. This includes areas such as debris management, logistics management and electric power generation.


A federal disaster declaration would provide aid to cover emergency procedures and recovery aid. Public Assistance would reimburse communities for the costs incurred for emergency protective actions and the Individual Assistance program would provide the following aid to homeowners, renters and small businesses: the Individuals and Households Program, Crisis Counseling, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, USDA food coupons and distribution, USDA food commodities, Disaster Legal Services, the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and Small Business Administration disaster loans.


Governor Cuomo today continued to deploy the State's emergency response resources as heavy rains caused flood levels at the Susquehanna River and other Southern Tier creeks and tributaries. The following is a summary of state resources responding to the flooding:

  • Senior state mangers and members of Governor Cuomo's Cabinet have been deployed to Binghamton in a command team, including Adjutant General Patrick Murphy, Director of State Office of Emergency Management Andrew X. Feeney, Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald, President and CEO of Environmental Facilities Corporation Matthew Driscoll, and Superintendent of State Police Joseph DAmico.
  • The State Office of Emergency Management has deployed staff to the following locations: the Town of Conklin, and the Counties of Greene, Broome, and Schoharie. OEM is also deploying sand bagging equipment to the area.
  • The New York National Guard has directed more than 350 troops and 44 vehicles towards flooded areas in the Southern Tier and troops are involved engaged in variety of assignments including water rescues and large scale evacuations of residents.
  • 130 Soldiers with 33 high-axle trucks and humvees from Western New York's 2nd Squadron 101st Cavalry are currently on the ground in Binghamton.
  • Additional troops from the 204th Engineer Battalion and the 101st Signal Battalion, are heading to Binghamton to assist in evacuation operations and recovery at the direction of local emergency officials.
  • New York Army and Air National Guard helicopters are also responding to the flooding:
    • Two New York Air National Guard HH-60 Pavehawk Search and Rescue helicopters based at Gabreski Air National Guard Base at Westhampton Beach on Long Island, have been moved to Binghamton to conduct operations if necessary.
    • In Rochester two New York Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawks, equipped with hoists for medical evacuation, are on site to assist in operations.
    • A CH-47 Chinook heavy lift helicopter and crew have been deployed to Binghamton from Rochester. Flight crews in Albany are prepared to send a UH-60 Blackhawk to Binghamton to assist in operations there.
  • The State radio communications vehicle has been deployed to the Broome County EOC to augment communications capabilities for state and local response agencies.
  • The Office of Fire Prevention and Control has assigned multiple fire protection specialists and 2 Swift Water Rescue Teams to Brome County. 12 Storm Emergency Fire Units (SEFUs) and NY Task Force 2 (Urban Search and Rescue Team) are mobilizing to operate in the area as well.
  • 10 shelters have been established and are being supported by 2 State/ARC shelter management teams.
  • NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has deployed multiple staff to the area and mobilized 3 swift water rescue boats and personnel in the Town of Conklin.
  • The Division of State Police (DSP) has approximately 600 personnel operating in the impacted area. DSP is deploying 4 aircraft and flight crews to the Broome County airport and have mobilized 2 airboats each with 3-person scuba teams.
  • The Office of Park, Recreation and Historic Preservation is deploying a swift water rescue boat with a crew of 4.
  • OEM is requisitioning an 18-person Incident Management Team; assistance to provide shelter to 300 animals; 8 tractor trailers of bottled water and 4 trailers of food.


Power Update:
At this time there are approximately 25,000 customers without service due to the persistent heavy rain, 21,600 of which are in NYSEG's Binghamton Division where flooding has become a major problem. There are substations five substations out at this time for safety reasons serving approximately 7,500 electric distribution customers in the Binghamton area. This area received over 10" of rain yesterday and many of the rivers and creeks in the area are expected to reach historic levels.