December 12, 2021
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Updates New Yorkers on State's Response to Damaging Winds, Power Outages Saturday

Governor Hochul Updates New Yorkers on State's Response to Damaging Winds, Power Outages Saturday

Nearly 300,000 Lost Power at Height of Storm That Saw Hurricane-Force Winds Up to 77 MPH Impact Western New York Overnight

10,000 State and Out-of-State Utilities Have Restored Power to More 200,000 Customers; 97,000 Customers Still Without Power

Governor Kathy Hochul today updated New Yorkers on the State's response to hurricane-force winds that impacted most of the State overnight and knocked out power for nearly 300,000 at the height of the event.  Some locations, including the City of Dunkirk, Niagara Falls Airport, and the City of Buffalo, experienced more than 70 mph winds during the storm. Nearly 10,000 State and out-of-state utility crews will continue today to work on restoration to the remaining 97,000 customers still without power. 

"Last night, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers lost power as a severe weather system swept across the State, bringing hurricane-force winds to several places, especially in Western New York," Governor Hochul said.  "Thanks to the collaborative efforts of State and local emergency managers and the hard work of utility crews from both the State and several out-of-state locations, more than half of those affected by outages have since been restored.  We will keep working to ensure everyone in the affected by this weather system, which caused death and wreaked havoc in other parts of the country this week, will be assisted as soon as possible."

Yesterday, Governor Hochul deployed State emergency response assets as high wind warnings were issued for counties across the Western New York, Finger Lakes and North Country regions.  The Governor also announced the mobilization of State utility internal, contract and external contract, and mutual assistance resources in response to the effects of the weekend's weather event. 

High Wind Warnings have expired and there are no other weather watches, warnings or advisories; however, winds up to 40 mph are expected in some locations today.  For a complete listing of weather advisories in your area, visit your area's National Weather Service website

State Agency Preparations 

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services 

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services' Emergency Operations Center is activated and will closely monitor conditions, coordinate response operations, and remain in contact with localities throughout the duration of the event.  State stockpiles are prepared to deploy assets to localities to support any storm-related needs, including pumps, chainsaws, sandbags, generators, cots, blankets and bottled water. 

Department of Transportation 

The State Department of Transportation is actively engaged in the current weather event. All affected residency locations will be staffed for 24/7 operation throughout the duration of priority response operations.  The Department's Incident Command System structure is activated and will remain fully staffed throughout the duration of this event. 

The Buffalo Skyway and I-81 in the North country have been reopened to traffic. 

Statewide equipment numbers are as follows:

  • 1576 large dump trucks 
  • 51 loader-grapple attachments 
  • 323 loaders 
  • 33 tracked excavators 
  • 46 wheeled excavators 
  • 40 tractor trailers w/ lowboy trailer 
  • 14 tree crew bucket trucks 
  • 30 traffic signal trucks 
  • 77 chippers 10" (min) capacity 

Thruway Authority 

The Thruway Authority has 676 operators and supervisors prepared to respond to any weather events 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 and social media are utilized to alert motorists of weather conditions on the Thruway.  

There are no vehicle bans in effect as of 4 a.m. 

The Thruway Authority encourages motorists to download its mobile app which is available 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 emails which provide the latest traffic conditions along the Thruway here.  

We will keep working to ensure everyone in the affected by this weather system, which caused death and wreaked havoc in other parts of the country this week, will be assisted as soon as possible.

Governor Hochul

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 are positioned to assist with any emergency response. 

Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation 

New York State Park Police and park personnel are on alert and closely monitoring weather conditions and impacts. Park visitors should check or call their local park office for the latest updates regarding park hours, openings and closings. 

Department of Public Service 

New York's utilities have approximately 7,800 workers available to engage in damage assessment, response and restoration efforts across New York State. 

National Grid has 2,913 line, tree, service workers from New York, Michigan, Ohio, Indian and Ontario committed for repair and restoration.  NYSEG/RG&E has 1,800 line, tree, service workers from New York and Ontario committed for repair and restoration. 

  • Dry-ice and bottled water distribution locations in impacted regions are open today from noon to 4 p.m.: 
  • Western Region: JFK Community Center, 114 Hickory Street Buffalo, NY 14204 
  • Finger Lakes Region: City of Batavia Fire Department, 18 Evans Street, Batavia, NY 14020 
  • Western Region: Murphy Training Center, 665 Brigham Road, Dunkirk, NY 14048 
  • Central New York Region: Oswego Fire Dept (back parking lot), 35 East Seneca Street, Oswego NY 13126 
  • North Country Region: Jefferson County, Watertown CitiBus Garage, 544 Newell St, Watertown, NY 13601 

Agency staff will track utilities' work throughout the event and ensure utilities shift appropriate staffing to regions anticipated to be most impacted.  

New York State Police 

State Police are prepared to deploy additional Troopers as needed to affected areas. All State Police specialized vehicles are staged and ready for immediate response, and all emergency power and communications equipment has been tested. 

New York Power Authority / Canal Corporation 

The New York Power Authority and the Canal Corporation staff performed preparations to ensure all facilities, assets and equipment are secured and ready. The Power Authority is prepared to support power restoration activities if needed. 

Governor Hochul Tours the Storm Damage in Western New York

Safety Tips 

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, visit the 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 New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Safety Tips web page

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474 - 8418
New York City: (212) 681 - 4640


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