September 21, 2018
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Urges New Yorkers to Prepare for Severe Thunderstorms and Strong Winds

Governor Cuomo Urges New Yorkers to Prepare for Severe Thunderstorms and Strong Winds

Wind Advisory in effect for Friday for portions of the Western NY, Finger Lakes, Central NY, Southern Tier and North Country Regions

Isolated Tornados Possible in the Western NY, Finger Lakes, Central NY, and Southern Tier Regions between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today warned New Yorkers to prepare for severe weather on Friday as a line of scattered thunderstorms, with the potential for heavy rain at times moves across the state. Storms will be coupled with gusty winds and hail especially in Western New York, the Finger Lakes, Central New York, the Southern Tier, and the North Country where wind gusts could reach up to 50 m.p.h. These winds may blow down limbs, trees, and power lines, resulting in scattered power outages. An isolated tornado cannot be ruled out in Western New York, the Finger Lakes, Central New York, and the Southern Tier with this storm.

"With storms and strong winds moving across New York, I am urging caution and directing state agencies to take additional precautions," Governor Cuomo said. "As we prepare for this extreme weather, it's critical for New Yorkers to stay informed, be prepared and to check on those who may need a helping hand."

Storms will develop from late afternoon through mid-evening Friday which could contain lightning, heavy rain, hail, and damaging winds. An isolated tornado is possible between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. as storms move across the state this evening, especially in the Western NY, Finger Lakes, Central NY, and Southern Tier Regions of the state. Gusty northwest winds will likely produce dangerous swimming conditions along the Lake Erie and Lake Ontario shorelines in the western portions of the state Saturday with significant wave action and strong currents. 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.

State Agency Preparations

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

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 around the clock.

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

State Department of Transportation

The State Department of Transportation is ready to respond to any storm impacts with 80 excavators, four bulldozers, 20 graders, 17 vacuum trucks with sewer jets, 10 water pumps, 1373 large dump trucks, 313 large loaders, 14 tree crew bucket trucks, 78 chippers, 53 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.

Thruway Authority

The Thruway Authority urges motorists to use caution while driving during severe weather. Additionally, the Thruway Authority will have Variable Message Signs activated throughout upstate New York to warn drivers of the weather conditions. Emergency road closure procedures are at the ready to assist other state and local agencies if road closures are necessary. We are prepared to have additional staff on hand to monitor the conditions, if necessary.

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: For real-time updates, motorists can follow @ThruwayTraffic on Twitter or by visiting to see an interactive map showing traffic conditions for the Thruway and other New York State roadways.

Department of Environmental Conservation

The Department of Environmental Conservation Police Officers, Forest Rangers, Emergency Management staff, and regional staff are on alert and monitoring the developing situation and actively patrolling areas likely to be impacted by the storm. All available assets, including boats, and utility vehicles, are ready to assist with any emergency response.

State Police

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.

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. New Yorkers should also check on friends, family and neighbors, especially the elderly.

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


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