Parts of the Western New York, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Central New York, Mohawk Valley and North Country Regions at Enhanced Risk for Severe Thunderstorms Beginning Thursday Afternoon
Primary Concerns Are Damaging Wind Gusts Which Could Cause Power Outages, Downed Tree Limbs and Downed Power Lines, and Localized Flooding in Low-lying Areas
New Yorkers Urged to Use Caution and Stay Alert During Evening Commute on Thursday
Governor Kathy Hochul today urged New Yorkers to prepare for strong and severe thunderstorms in the forecast on Thursday, particularly in parts of the Western New York, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Central New York, Mohawk Valley and North Country Regions and to stay alert to the weather throughout the day. Severe weather will likely begin Thursday afternoon and continue through the evening.
"Scattered storms are expected and tornadoes are possible throughout the State today and we will continue to keep a close eye on the forecast for the rest of the day," Governor Hochul said. "I strongly urge anyone in the path of these storms to follow your local weather forecast for impacts throughout the afternoon and evening."
The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center has placed much of the State in an Enhanced Risk for severe thunderstorms. There is high confidence that several storms will include damaging winds which may cause downed trees and power lines - resulting in outages, hail up to and possibly exceeding one inch in diameter, and heavy rain that may lead to isolated flash flooding.
New rainfall amounts of up to an inch are possible in the Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, and North Country regions, with up to a half-inch of rain across the rest of the state.
State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, "New Yorkers should prepare now for potentially severe thunderstorms impacting most of the state later today. Pay attention to your local forecast as conditions may change throughout the afternoon and, if you need to travel later in the day, check the forecast before you go, take your time, and remember flood safety in your car, notably: turn around, don't drown."
For a complete listing of weather alerts and forecasts, visit the National Weather Service website at https://alerts.weather.gov. New Yorkers are also encouraged to sign up for emergency alerts by subscribing to NY Alert at https://alert.ny.gov, a free service providing critical emergency information to your cell phone or computer.
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services' Emergency Operations Center is monitoring weather and travel conditions, and will coordinate response needs with local governments. The State's 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 Department of Transportation is monitoring weather conditions and is prepared to respond to the upcoming weather event with the following assets:
- 1,430 large dump trucks
- 296 large loaders
- 77 tracked and wheeled excavators
- 72 chippers
- 39 tractor trailers
- 29 traffic tower platforms
- 22 water tankers
- 15 vacuum trucks with sewer jets
- 13 tree crew bucket trucks
The Thruway Authority has 633 operators and supervisors prepared to respond to any wind or flood related issues 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.
Statewide equipment numbers are as follows:
- 354 Large and Small Dump Trucks
- 63 Loaders
- 33 Trailers
- 6 Vac Trucks
- 16 Excavators
- 10 Brush Chippers
- 99 Chainsaws
- 19 Aerial Trucks
- 21 Skid Steers
- 84 Portable Generators
- 68 Portable Light Units
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 live traffic cameras, real-time traffic information 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, follow @ThruwayTraffic on Twitter, and visit 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, 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, including swift water rescue teams, 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 parks.ny.gov 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 5,500 workers available to engage in damage assessment, response, repair, and restoration efforts across New York State, for this event. Agency staff will track utilities' work throughout the event and ensure utilities shift appropriate staffing to regions that experience the greatest impact.
New York State Police
State Police are prepared to deploy additional Troopers, as needed, to affected areas. All State Police specialized vehicles, including four-wheel drive vehicles and Utility Task Vehicles, are staged and ready for immediate response. All Troop emergency power and communications equipment has been tested.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Metropolitan Transportation Authority is closely monitoring weather conditions to ensure safe, reliable service. MTA employees will be poised to respond to any weather-related issues and remove any downed trees that may fall across tracks.
Customers are encouraged to check new.mta.info for the latest service updates, and to use caution while navigating the system. Customers should also sign up for real-time service alerts via text or email. These alerts are also available via the MTA's apps: MYmta, Long Island Rail Road Train Time and Metro-North Train Time.
The Port Authority is monitoring weather conditions. Speed restrictions may be in effect at the bridges, as well as along roadways to and from the crossings. Passengers through the Port Authority's facilities are encouraged to reach out to carriers and airlines directly for the latest information on delays and cancelations. For the latest information about Port Authority facilities, please check social media, sign up for PA alerts or download one of the PA mobile apps, including RidePATH which provides real-time updates and alerts for PATH service.
Severe Weather Safety Tips
- Know the county in which you live and the names of nearby cities. Severe weather warnings are issued on a county basis.
- 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 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. a
- Have a portable radio, flashlights, extra batteries, and emergency cooking equipment available.
- Keep your vehicle fueled or charged. 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.
Have disaster supplies on hand, including:
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
- First aid kit and manual
- Emergency food and water
- Non-electric can opener
- Essential medicines
- Checkbook, cash, credit cards, ATM cards
- Never attempt to drive on a flooded road. Turn around and go another way.
- If water begins to rise rapidly around you in your car, abandon the vehicle immediately.
- Do not underestimate the power of fast-moving water. Two feet of fast-moving flood water will float your car, and water moving at two miles per hour can sweep cars off a road or bridge.
- Follow the 30-30 rule: If the time between when you see a flash of lightning and hear thunder is 30 seconds or less, the lightning is close enough to hit you. Seek shelter immediately. After the last flash of lightning, wait 30 minutes before leaving your shelter.
- Lightning hits the tallest object. If you are above a tree line, quickly get below it and crouch down if you are in an exposed area.
- If you can't get to a shelter, stay away from trees. If there is no shelter, crouch in the open, keeping twice as far away from a tree as it is tall.
For more safety tips, visit the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Safety Tips web page at www.dhses.ny.gov/safety.
Contact the Governor’s Press Office
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