Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today warned New Yorkers to prepare for heavy rain, thunderstorms, and gusty winds as a cold front moves through the entire state from the west. Storms will also be capable of producing locally very heavy downpours which could cause localized urban and low lying flooding especially for the Southern Tier and other locations that received heavy rain on Tuesday. Thunderstorms will be accompanied by gusty winds especially in the higher terrain of the Adirondacks and the eastern Catskills where gusts could reach 40-50 mph. Thunderstorms could produce damaging winds resulting in downed trees and wires, power outages and isolated structural damage. An isolated tornado cannot be ruled out with this storm.
"With storms and strong wind gusts forecast for most of the state today, New Yorkers should take necessary precautions and be prepared before potentially severe weather strikes," said Governor Cuomo. "The State is ready to assist our local partners with personnel, equipment and supplies and I urge residents to check on neighbors who may need a helping hand."
A strong cold front will move through the state beginning this morning. Showers and thunderstorms are already falling over western New York. The potential severe threat will not begin until this afternoon. By Noon, a line of storms is expected in the Finger Lakes and western Southern Tier and western Central New York. By 3:00 pm, look for the storms to be near the middle of the State, reaching the Capital District by 4:00 pm and roughly I-84 around 7 pm. Keep in mind, these are estimates based on how quickly the system is expected to move. The main threat from these storms will be strong damaging winds. Heavy downpours are also possible which could lead to isolated areas of flash flooding especially in the Southern Tier. There is a Beach Hazards Statement in effect from 9 am through this evening for the beaches of Niagara, Orleans, Monroe, Wayne, Northern Cayuga, Oswego, and Jefferson counties. Strong currents and dangerous swimming conditions are expected. Also a Rip Current Statement remains posted through this evening for the Atlantic Beaches of NYC, Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
As storms move through the state, the National Weather Service may issue weather watches and warnings throughout New York State. 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.
State Agency Preparations
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
At the Governor's direction, the State Emergency Operations Center has been activated to Level 4 Enhanced Monitoring to track the path of these storms. The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services has been in contact with Emergency Managers in the affected regions and the State's Watch Center is monitoring for any potential impacts.
The State's 10 regional stockpiles are fully prepared and assets are ready to deploy including:
· Approximately 700 generators
· Over 200 light towers
· Over 1,250 pumps
· Over 1.8 million sandbags
· 18 sandbaggers
· Over 438,000 bottles and cans of water
· Over 28,500 ready to eat meals
· 9,650 cots
· 12,340 blankets and 13,613 pillows
· 6,771 feet of Aquadam
Department of Transportation
The State Department of Transportation is ready to respond to any storm impacts with 83 excavators, four bulldozers, 19 graders, 17 vacuum trucks with sewer jets, 10 water pumps, 1,408 large dump trucks, 313 large loaders, 14 tree crew bucket trucks, 79 chippers, 54 traffic signal trucks, and 13 water tankers.
In addition, the Department has Variable Message Signs that will alert motorists of high wind or any severe weather warning as issued by the National Weather Service for any geographic area of the state.
The Thruway Authority urges motorists to use caution while driving during severe weather. The Thruway Authority has Variable Message Signs available throughout the system to alert drivers of severe weather watches and warnings. Staff are closely monitoring drainage systems and preparing equipment for the potential of downed trees 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.
Department of Environmental Conservation
DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs), Forest Rangers, and Emergency Management staff are on alert and ready to deploy to communities impacted by heavy rain, flooding, and strong winds. All available assets, including drone pilots, boats, and utility vehicles, are ready to assist with any emergency response.
The New York State Police will be actively monitoring the potential severe weather and is prepared to add additional personnel and patrols affected areas as needed. All State Police assets, including 4x4s, utility vehicles and mobile command vehicles are staged and ready for deployment.
New York State Parks
NYS Parks continues to actively monitor the severe weather forecast to move through the state tonight and tomorrow and has directed the Park Police and park personnel to take appropriate action for any and all significant storm impacts including preparation of possible flooding, downed trees and power outages at State Park facilities. Equipment is prepared and ready for deployment if necessary to respond to an emergency. Park visitors should monitor www.parks.ny.gov or call their local park office for the latest updates regarding park hours, openings and closings.
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 Wednesday, Sept. 26, 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
Prepare for Power Outages
Governor Cuomo urges residents to stay away from any lines that are down as they may be live, and should be considered extremely dangerous. Motorists are reminded that State Law mandates that if an intersection is "blacked out" and the traffic signal is not operational, the intersection is automatically a "four way" stop. In the event of closed or blocked roadways due to flooding, downed power lines or debris, motorists are advised to exercise caution and obey all traffic signs or barricades in place, regardless of whether a roadway looks clear.
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.
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. Remember: "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.
· The Governor is offering these additional safety tips:
· 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.
Flood 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.
Travel with Care
· Leave early to avoid being marooned on flooded roads.
· Make sure you have enough fuel for your car.
· Follow recommended routes. DO NOT sightsee.
· 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.
· 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.
· If you are in your car and water begins to rise rapidly around you, abandon the vehicle immediately.
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.
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