August 26, 2020
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Directs State Agencies to Pre-Deploy Emergency Response Assets as Rain and Strong Winds Are Possible for New York Beginning Thursday

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Forecasts Call for Scattered Severe Thunderstorms on Thursday with Possibility of Localized Heavy Downpours and Strong Winds Reaching 60 MPH

 

Great Lakes Storm Expected to Impact Upstate New York on Saturday While Remnants of Hurricane Laura May Lead to Rainfall Downstate

WYSIWYG

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed state agencies to prepare and pre-deploy emergency response assets as heavy rains and severe thunderstorms are forecast to impact New York on Thursday through this weekend. As humidity begins to return on Thursday, there will be an increased chance of scattered severe thunderstorms statewide, especially in the eastern portion of the state where localized downpours and wind gusts of up to 60 mph are possible.

 

As the weekend approaches, a storm system will move over the Great Lakes and enter New York from the west and bring the possibility of rain across much of upstate New York beginning Friday night into Saturday. Simultaneously, the remnants of Hurricane Laura will continue to move east toward the Mid-Atlantic coast, which may lead to heavy rainfall in the lower Mid-Hudson, New York City and Long Island Regions. Governor Cuomo is urging New Yorkers to ensure their households and families are prepared for the storm, and to continue monitoring local weather forecasts for the most up-to-date information.

 

"Our emergency response teams are monitoring these storms around the clock and we're urging New Yorkers to be prepared for severe weather starting Thursday and limit any unnecessary travel," Governor Cuomo said. "We are tracking Hurricane Laura, as well, as it approaches Texas and Louisiana and could potentially bring heavy rains to New York late in the weekend."

 

While the National Weather Service has yet to issue any watches, warnings, or advisories associated with this storm for New York, this may change as more information concerning the exact path comes to light this weekend. New Yorkers can view the complete listing of these notices, as well as access the latest forecasts, by visiting the National Weather Service website here.

 

Agency Preparations

 

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services' Emergency Operations Center remains activated due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will monitor weather conditions, coordinate state response operations and stay in contact with localities throughout the duration of the event. State Stockpiles are also prepared to deploy assets to localities to support any storm-related needs. This includes pumps, chainsaws, sandbags and bottled water. 

 

Department of Transportation

The State Department of Transportation is prepared to respond with 3,474 supervisors and operators. Response crews will staff the affected residency locations 24/7 throughout the duration of priority response operations. Mechanic support will be available 24/7 to keep response equipment operational.

 

Statewide equipment numbers are as follows:

  • 1,318 Large Dump Trucks
  • 48 Loaders w/Grapple
  • 300 Loaders
  • 15 Vac Trucks w/Sewer Jet
  • 81 Excavators
  • 16 Tree Crew Bucket Trucks
  • 33 Traffic Signal Trucks
  • 6 Water Pumps
  • 73 Chippers

 

Thruway Authority

The Thruway Authority has 640 operators and supervisors prepared to respond to any wind or flood related issues across the state with small to medium sized excavators, plow/dump trucks, large loaders, portable VMS boards, portable light towers, smaller generators, smaller pumps and equipment hauling trailers, as well as signage and other traffic control devices available for any detours or closures. Variable Message Signs, Highway Advisory Radio and social media are utilized to alert motorists of weather conditions on the Thruway.

 

Statewide equipment numbers are as follows:

  • 216 Large Dump Trucks
  • 122 Small Dump Trucks
  • 62 Loaders
  • 26 Trailers
  • 7 Vac Trucks
  • 9 Tracked Excavators
  • 8 Wheeled Excavators
  • 9 Brush Chippers
  • 99 Chainsaws
  • 20 Aerial Trucks
  • 22 Skid Steers
  • 87 Portable Generators
  • 69 Portable Light Units

 

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 by following this link: www.thruway.ny.gov/tas/index.shtml. 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.

 

Department of Environmental Conservation

DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers, Forest Rangers, Emergency Management staff, and regional staff are on alert and monitoring the developing situation and actively patrolling areas and infrastructure likely to be impacted by severe weather. All available assets are positioned ready to assist with any emergency response.

 

Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation

State Parks: State Parks is monitoring the storm forecast, and regional staff are fueling and preparing UTVs/ATVs, generators, and wood chippers; identifying sawyer crews; clearing drainage structures of potential blockages, and removing known hazardous limbs and trees. Potential visitors are urged to visit https://parks.ny.gov/  for updates on any potential changes on facility operating hours stemming from the storm.

 

Deployable assets include:

  • 39 Chippers
  • 29 Dual rear axle dump trucks
  • 119 Single rear axle dump trucks
  • 12 Aerial lift - truck mounted (bucket trucks)
  • 31 Excavators
  • 229 Loaders of various size
  • 44 Loader-backhoes of various size

 

New York State Police

The New York State Police has instructed all Troopers to remain vigilant and closely monitor conditions for any problems. Additional personnel will be deployed to affected areas as needed. All four-wheel drive vehicles and all specialty vehicles, including boats and utility vehicles, are in-service.

 

Department of Public Service
New York's utilities have approximately 4,500 workers available to engage in damage assessment, response and restoration across New York State. Department of Public Service staff will track the utilities' work throughout the storm event and will ensure the utilities shift the appropriate staffing to the regions anticipated to experience the greatest impact.

 

Safety Tips

If traveling during heavy rain, please drive with care and keep these safety tips in mind:

  • DO NOT attempt to drive over a flooded road. Turn around and go another way.
  • DO NOT underestimate the destructive power of fast-moving water. Two feet of fast-moving flood water will float your car. Water moving at two miles per hour can sweep cars off a road or bridge.
  • Leave early to avoid being marooned on flooded roads.
  • Follow recommended routes. DO NOT ignore emergency detours to view flooded areas.
  • As you travel, monitor NOAA Weather Radio and local radio broadcasts for the latest information.
  • Watch for washed-out roads, earth-slides, broken water or sewer mains, loose or downed electrical wires, and falling or fallen objects.
  • Watch for areas where rivers or streams may suddenly rise and flood, such as highway dips, bridges, and low areas.
  • If you are in your car and water begins to rise rapidly around you, abandon the vehicle immediately.

 

Prepare for flooding and severe weather:

  • Know the county in which you live and the names of nearby cities. Severe weather warnings are issued on a county basis.
  • 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 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 waterproofing.
  • Have disaster supplies on hand, including:
    • Flashlight and extra batteries
      • Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
        • First aid kit and manual
          • Emergency food and water
            • Non-electric can opener
              • Essential medicines
                • Checkbook, cash, credit cards, ATM cards

 

If experiencing a power outage, New Yorkers should:

  • Turn off or disconnect major appliances and other equipment, e.g., computers, in case of a momentary power surge that can damage these devices. Keep one light turned on so you know when power returns. Consider using surge protectors wherever you use electronic equipment.
  • Call your utility provider to notify them of the outage and listen to local broadcasts for official information. For a list of utilities in NYS visit the New York State Department of Public Service Check to see if your neighbors have power. Check on people with access or functional needs.
  • Use only flashlights for emergency lighting - candles pose the risk of fire.
  • Keep refrigerators and freezer doors closed - most food requiring refrigeration can be kept safely in a closed refrigerator for several hours. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for approximately four (4) hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours.
  • Do not use a charcoal grill indoors and do not use a gas stove for heat - they could give off harmful levels of carbon monoxide.
  • In cold weather, stay warm by dressing in layers and minimizing time spent outdoors. Be aware of cold stress symptoms (i.e., hypothermia) and seek proper medical attention if symptoms appear.
  • If you are in a tall building, take the stairs and move to the lowest level of the building. If trapped in an elevator, wait for assistance. Do not attempt to force the doors open. Remain patient - there is plenty of air and the interior of the elevator is designed for passenger safety.
  • Remember to provide fresh, cool water for your pets.
  • Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic signals will stop working during an outage, creating traffic congestion and dangerous driving conditions. If you must drive during a blackout, remember to obey the 4-way stop rule at intersections with non-functioning traffic signals.
  • Remember that equipment such as automated teller machines (ATMs) and elevators may not be working.

 

For more safety tips, visit the DHSES website at www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/safety-info/index.cfm.

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