State Emergency Response Assets Strategically Deployed to Support Localities
New Yorkers Should Plan for Possibility of Strong Winds, Heavy Rains and Flash Flooding
Tandem Trailers and Empty Tractor Trailers Banned from MTA Bridges from Noon to Midnight on Tuesday
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today updated New Yorkers on the state's emergency response preparations as Tropical Storm Isaias begins impacting New York. Current projections show that the storm's track has shifted slightly to the west, increasing the threat of heavy rains and strong winds for the Mid-Hudson and Capital Regions. State agencies continue to closely monitor the storm's track and have strategically pre-deployed resources to the Capital, Mid-Hudson, New York City and Long Island Regions. New Yorkers should ensure their households are prepared for the storm and to continue monitoring local weather forecasts for the most up-to-date information.
"Tropical Storm Isaias has started moving through New York, bringing with it strong winds, torrential rain and the potential for flash flooding that can cause major disruptions, and I'm urging New Yorkers, particularly those directly in Isaias' path, to stay calm, be smart and avoid unnecessary travel," Governor Cuomo said. "Our emergency response team has been pre-deployed to the areas projected to be the hardest hit, and we are prepared to assist our local partners in keeping New Yorkers safe."
During the past 24 hours, the storm has shifted to the west and increased its speed moving northward. With that, expected rainfall totals on Long Island have decreased. However, localized areas in the interior of the state could still see up to six inches of rainfall with stronger winds. Tropical Storm warnings and Tornado watches are in effect for the lower Mid-Hudson, New York City and Long Island Regions. Forecasts are predicting that New Yorkers in these regions could experience wind speeds between 40 and 50 mph, with gusts reaching nearly 70 mph at the peak of the storm. Localized storm surges of up to two feet are also a possibility along the coastline.
The National Weather Service has also issued a number of flash flood watches and wind advisories for areas throughout the northern Mid-Hudson, Southern Tier, Capital and North Country Regions. 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.
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. Additionally, the Division's Office of Fire Prevention and Control has pre-deployed its Swift Water Urban Search and Rescue teams to areas within the storm track to assist local first responders in the event support is needed. Teams are equipped with boats and high-axle vehicles.
Department of Transportation
The State Department of Transportation is prepared to respond with 3,517 supervisors and operators available statewide. All available rain/flood/wind response equipment is ready to deploy. Statewide equipment numbers are as follows:
- 1433 large dump trucks.
- 48 loaders w/grapple
- 313 loaders
- 16 vacuum trucks w/sewer jet
- 28 tracked excavators
- 47 wheeled excavators
- 61 tractor trailers w/ lowboy trailer
- 14 tree crew bucket trucks
- 35 traffic signal trucks
- 6 water pumps
- 77 chippers
All affected residency locations will be staffed for 24/7 operation throughout the duration of priority response operations. Mechanic support will be available 24/7 to keep response equipment operational.
Flood/debris quick-response crews will be pre-staged in the Mid-Hudson and Long Island Regions overnight Tuesday to perform immediate response to any needs that arise. Additional crews will be called-in as needed to provide additional support.
The Thruway Authority has 647 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:
- 213 Large Dump Trucks
- 127 Small Dump Trucks
- 61 Loaders
- 25 Trailers
- 7 Vac Trucks
- 10 Tracked Excavators
- 7 Wheeled Excavators
- 11 Brush Chippers
- 99 Chainsaws
- 20 Aerial Trucks
- 21 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.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
The MTA is taking all necessary precautions to protect its transportation network and deliver safe service.
Across New York City Transit, the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and MTA Bridges and Tunnels, crews have assembled 1 million gallons of diesel fuel, 303,000 sandbags, 77,800 gallons of gasoline, 7,348 sheets of plywood, 884 chain saws, 671 portable generators, 422 barriers made of concrete or plastic, 264 pumps, 218 torches, 198 water suction and discharge hoses, 134 fans, 79 emergency response vehicles, 56 wrecker/tow trucks, 37 excavators, 33 variable message signs, 18 weather data collection stations and three debris-clearing trains.
The MTA will also institute a ban on tandem trailers and empty tractor trailers on its bridges from noon to midnight on Tuesday.
Metro-North will go to a weekend schedule Tuesday, providing provide hourly service all day Tuesday, with service every two hours between Southeast and Wassaic on the Harlem Line and every three hours on the Danbury branch in Connecticut.
Customers should take precautions to travel safely during and after heavy rain and winds. This includes allowing for extra travel time, taking extra caution when walking on platforms and stairs, watching for slippery conditions and being mindful for overhead foliage or wires.
All MTA agencies are working closely together, coordinating with local partners to develop precautionary change plans should service be impacted.
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
The Port Authority urges motorists to use caution during the storm. Speed restrictions at the George Washington and Staten Island bridges may be in effect, as well as along roadways to and from the crossings.
Travelers through the Port Authority's airports, terminals and bus station are encouraged to reach out to carriers and airlines directly for the latest information on delays, cancelations or rebookings. For the latest information about Port Authority facilities, please check social media, sign up for PA alerts or download one of the PA mobile apps.
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, including swift water rescue teams and sawyers, are positioned to assist with any emergency response.
Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation
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, removing known hazardous limbs and trees, and pre-positioning sandbags by facilities with known flooding issues. Potential visitors are urged to visit https://parks.ny.gov/ for updates on any potential changes on facility operating hours stemming from the storm.
Utility crews from PSEG LI will be staging trucks and supplies at Bethpage State Park in the picnic area parking lot and near the clubhouse in anticipation of the storm.
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. Members of the State Police swift water rescue team will be deployed and staged for immediate response. 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. In addition, PSEG LI, Con Edison, Orange & Rockland and Central Hudson have secured more than 2,000 additional mutual aid line workers to support their response and restoration efforts due to the expected impacts from Tropical Storm Isaias.
New York Power Authority
The New York Power Authority (NYPA) and the Canal Corporation are monitoring Tropical Storm Isaias. Staff are taking necessary precautionary measures to ensure continuity of operations. Operational impact to NYPA and Canals assets is not anticipated based on the current forecast, however, staff will continue to monitor updates from the National Weather Service and will coordinate with internal and external stakeholders.
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.