Damaging Winds and Hail Possible; May Cause Downed Trees and Power Lines in the Capital and Mid-Hudson Valley Regions
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo is urging New Yorkers in the Capital and Mid-Hudson Valley regions to prepare for severe thunderstorms this afternoon. Current forecasts show the potential for damaging winds with gusts up to 65 mph, creating the possibility of downed trees and power lines. New Yorkers should take proper storm precautions and closely monitor local media outlets for weather updates as the storm passes through their communities.
"The spring storm season is officially upon us and as we have experienced far too many times, weather is becoming more severe and unpredictable with each passing day," Governor Cuomo said. "While New Yorkers should continue to stay prepared for power outages and wind damage, they should know that the state is closely monitoring this system and stands ready to immediately assist any communities in need."
Currently, the storm is moving from west to east with the greatest impact between noon and 7 p.m. in the Capital Region, mainly south of Interstate 90, and between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. in the lower Mid-Hudson Valley Region. Residents in the affected areas should stay tuned to local media outlets for the latest weather forecast. For a complete listing of weather watches and warnings, visit the National Weather Service website. To receive weather-based alerts and notifications in your area, subscribe to NY-Alert, New York State's free, subscription-based emergency notification system, here.
New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services - Office of Emergency Management is actively monitoring the situation and has been in touch with local emergency management, and is in close contact with the National Weather Service. State Stockpiles are prepared and assets are ready to deploy to affected regions, which include 750 generators, 259 light towers, 1,246 pumps of various sizes, over 1,700,000 sandbags, 13 sandbaggers, over 56,350 ready to eat meals, over 430,000 bottles and cans of water, over 9,000 cots, and 12,340 blankets and 13,613 pillows.
New York State Department of Transportation
The State Department of Transportation is ready to respond to any storm impacted areas with 75 excavators, four bulldozers, 20 graders, 17 vacuum trucks with sewer jets, 12 water pumps, 1,441 large dump trucks, 318 large loaders, 15 tree crew bucket trucks, 79 chippers, 57 traffic signal trucks, and 13 water tankers.
In addition, the Department has Variable Message Signs up on state roads in the affected regions warning motorists of severe weather conditions. Motorists are also reminded to check 511NY by calling 511 or by accessing www.511ny.org before traveling. The free service allows users to check road conditions and transit information. Mobile users can download the updated, free 511NY mobile app from the iTunes or Google Play stores. The app now 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.
The Thruway Authority urges motorists to use caution while driving during the storm. The Thruway Authority has Variable Message Signs available throughout the system if high wind warnings are issued by the National Weather Service. Staff are closely monitoring conditions and are ready to respond and assist if needed.
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 visit www.thruway.ny.gov to see an interactive map showing traffic conditions for the Thruway and other New York State roadways.
New York State Department of Public Service
New York's utilities have an existing base of 4,300 workers available for restoration efforts, as needed. The utilities are on alert and are closely watching as the storm develops, and will deploy restoration crews where needed. Department staff will continue to monitor the utilities' efforts during the storm event.
The Department of Public Service has extended Call Center Helpline hours starting Tuesday, May 15, until 7:30 p.m., as needed, to assist consumers in their storm restoration efforts. The Department of Public Service Call Center Helpline can be reached by calling 1-800-342-3377.
Governor Cuomo offered the following safety tips:
Before the Storm Hits:
- Tie down or bring inside lawn furniture, trash cans, tools and hanging plants that could be projectiles during the storm.
- If you have a basement, check sump pumps to ensure they are operating and be prepared to use a backup system.
- Have a standby generator or alternative source of power available.
- Check on neighbors, especially the elderly and disabled.
As the Storm Approaches:
- Stay inside, away from windows and glass doors.
- Charge your cellphones and important electronic devices
- Stay off roads. If you are traveling, find safe shelter immediately.
- If you detect or see a tornado, remain calm, but take immediate action.
- If you are outdoors, seek shelter in a substantial building immediately. If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in a ditch or low spot with your hands shielding your head.
- If you are in a mobile home or vehicle, get out immediately! Mobile homes or vehicles are easily tossed about by strong winds in the tornado. Take shelter in a substantial structure. If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in a ditch or low spot with your hands shielding our head. Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car.
- If you are at home or in a small building, go to the basement or an interior room on the lowest floor. Stay away from windows. Closets, bathrooms, and other interior rooms offer the best protection. Get under something sturdy or cover yourself with a mattress.
- If you are in a school, hospital or shopping center, go to a pre-designated shelter area. Stay away from large open areas and windows. Do not go outside to your car.
- If you are in a high-rise building, go to an interior small room or hallway on the lowest floor possible. Do not use the elevators - use stairs.
- Check on friends, family and neighbors, especially the elderly.
- At home or at work, keep a battery-operated radio and flashlight on hand, as well as a supply of batteries.
- Keep an emergency supply of water, medications, and non-perishable foods handy. If you use medication that requires refrigeration, most can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem - check with your physician or pharmacist.
- Make sure you have alternative charging methods for your phone or any device that requires power. Charge cell phones and any battery-powered devices.
- If you have space in your refrigerator or freezer, consider filling plastic containers with water, leaving an inch of space inside each one - this will help keep food cold if the power goes out.
Prepare for Power Outages
New Yorkers should always avoid any downed power lines as they may be live and should be considered extremely dangerous.
If You Lose Power:
- Call your utility provider to notify them of the outage and listen to local broadcasts for official information. For a list of utilities, 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 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.
After a Power Outage:
- Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40°F (4°C) for two or more hours, or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. "When in doubt, throw it out!"
- If food in the freezer is colder than 40°F and has ice crystals on it, it can be re-frozen.
- If you are concerned about medications having spoiled, contact your doctor.
- Restock your emergency kit with fresh batteries, canned foods and other supplies.