October 31, 2019
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Urges New Yorkers to Prepare for Strong Winds and Rain Over Next 36 Hours

TOP Governor Cuomo Urges New Yorkers to Prepare for...

60 MPH Wind Gusts Expected Throughout Much of the State, Especially Along Lake Erie and Lake Ontario

State Emergency Operations Center Activated to Enhanced Monitoring Mode

WYSIWYG

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today urged New Yorkers to prepare for a storm system which will bring 40 to 50 mph winds with gusts over 60 mph, as well as two to three inches of rain to much of the state. The storm is expected to be strongest between 11 p.m. Thursday night through 2 p.m. Friday and could potentially cause damage to trees, powerlines and property. The National Weather Service has already issued multiple advisories, watches and warnings for high winds and flooding throughout much of the state. New Yorkers should pay close attention to their local weather reports throughout the coming days, as well as take the steps necessary to ensure their families are protected in the event of a power outage. Motorists should also travel carefully, as crosswinds may make driving difficult, especially for high profile vehicles.

"While we are no stranger to severe weather, I urge all New Yorkers in the affected regions to be prepared for potentially dangerous winds and flooding," Governor Cuomo said. "Our state agencies and emergency management teams are on standby to assist communities as quickly and effectively as possible."

On Thursday, a strong low pressure system will move east across the state, bringing two to three inches of rain and 40 mph to 50 mph winds with gusts up to 60 mph, especially along both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, where lakeshore flooding is possible.  The National Weather Service has already issued High Wind Watches and Warnings for Allegany, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Clinton, Erie, Franklin, Genesee, Jefferson, Lewis, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Ontario, Orleans, Oswego, St. Lawrence, Wayne and Wyoming Counties, as well as multiple wind advisories for portions of the Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier and Capital Region. Additionally, various Lakeshore, Coastal and General Flood Watches are in effect for Albany, Chautauqua, Chenango, Erie, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Montgomery, Madison, Nassau, Niagara, Oneida, Oswego, Otsego, Queens, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren and Washington Counties.

For a complete listing of weather watches, warnings, advisories and latest forecasts, visit the National Weather Service website.

Agency Preparations

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services has placed the State Watch Center into Enhanced Monitoring Mode and continues to be in constant communication with all state and local partners. State Stockpiles will also be on standby to ensure resources can be deployed as appropriate. Staff from the State's Office of Fire Prevention and Control will also be on standby to deploy high-axle vehicles as needed.

Department of Transportation

The State Department of Transportation is ready to respond with 3,431 supervisors and operators available.   While no out of region deployments are planned for this event at this time, these needs will be continuously evaluated as conditions warrant throughout the event.  All affected Residency locations will be staffed for 24/7 operation throughout the duration of the event, while mechanic support will be available 24/7 to keep response equipment operational.

Regional Crews are currently engaged in flood and wind response preparations.  Drainage inlets, culverts and other drainage structures are being inspected and cleared of accumulated debris.  Routine patrols are being conducted to maintain awareness of general conditions.  Flood and wind response tools, including generators, pumps, chainsaws, hand tools, and chippers are being readied and loaded into response trucks for immediate dispatch. 

All available Flood/Wind Response equipment is ready to deploy. Statewide equipment numbers are as follows:

  • 1512 Large Dump Trucks
  • 45 Loaders w/Grapple
  • 18 Vacuum Trucks w/Sewer Jet
  • 35 Tracked Excavators
  • 49 Wheeled Excavators
  • 55 Tractor Trailers w/ Lowboy Trailer
  • 15 Tree Crew Bucket Trucks
  • 38 Traffic Signal Trucks
  • 7 Water Pumps
  • 76 Chippers

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 an "all 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.

Thruway Authority

Thruway Authority staff are prepared to respond to any wind-related issues statewide with more than 673 operators and supervisors, small to medium sized excavators, plow/dump trucks, large loaders, and a number of 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.

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.  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

Department of Environmental Conservation Police Officers, Forest Rangers, emergency management staff, and regional staff are on alert and monitoring the developing situation and checking sensitive areas and infrastructure. Saw crew teams are strategically located in key regions of the state and ready to assist with any tree clearing and response needs. In addition, all available assets, including utility vehicles, are ready to assist with any emergency response.

Department of Public Service

New York's utilities have an existing base of 4,500 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.

New York State Police

The New York State Police have readied assets including all 4x4s, high axle vehicles and utility vehicles for deployment as needed. Troopers have been instructed to remain on high alert and to closely monitor conditions while on patrol.

Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation is actively engaged in preparations for the storm, including ensuring all storm response equipment is fully fueled and prepared for deployment; clearing culverts and drainage structures of leaves and limbs; removing any identified hazardous trees and limbs; securing all loose items susceptible to wind; and relocating equipment in flood prone areas to higher ground.

Safety Tips

To prepare for potential power outages, New Yorkers should:

  • Have a list of emergency numbers readily available.
  • 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.
  • If you have an electric garage door opener, locate the manual release level and learn how to operate it.
  • Keep your car's gas tank at least half-full; gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps. If you use your car to re-charge devices, do not keep the car running in a garage, partially enclosed space, or close to a home - this can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Plan to have an alternative cooking source, such as a camp stove or outdoor grill. Follow appropriate safety rules for its use outside the residence.
  • If you are considering a generator for your home, consult an electrician or engineer before purchasing and installing.
  • Have extra blankets, coats, hats, and gloves on hand to keep warm.
  • If you have a computer, back up files and operating systems regularly. Turn off all computers, monitors, and other devices when they are not being used.
  • If you rely on anything that is battery-operated or power dependent such as a medical device, determine a back-up plan. For example, if you have a telephone that requires electricity to work, plan for alternate communication such as a standard telephone handset, cell phone, or radio.
  • Learn about emergency plans in your area, including the location of the closest cooling and warming shelters, by visiting your state's or local website.

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.
  • In intense heat, consider going to a movie theater, shopping mall or cooling shelter. If you remain at home, move to the lowest level - cool air falls. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing and drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty.
  • 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.
  • If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location, such as the home of a relative or friend, or a public facility that has heat.

For a complete list of weather terms and preparation ideas before during and after power outages, visit the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services website at http://www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/safety-info/outage/.

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