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Hochul urges New Yorkers to prepare for potentially severe weather


Mon, Jun 26th 2023 08:15 pm

Persistent rain and severe thunderstorms in the forecast have potential to cause flash flooding across state Monday and Tuesday

√ Localized downpours may cause flash flooding in flood-prone areas of state; New Yorkers urged to monitor weather forecast, pay attention to watches, warnings and alerts, and prepare to follow emergency orders if necessary

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday urged New Yorkers to prepare for potentially severe weather this week, as severe thunderstorms and excessive rainfall are in the forecast for downstate regions on Monday and Tuesday, causing the potential for localized flash flooding in flood-prone regions. As thunderstorms are expected across the state throughout the week, Hochul urged New Yorkers to monitor their local forecast for the latest weather conditions and to sign up for emergency alerts ahead of extreme weather events.

"Severe weather is expected across the state this week, bringing with it persistent rain, thunderstorms and the potential to cause flash flooding," Hochul said. "Our state agencies are preparing emergency response assets and we are in close contact with local governments across the state to ensure they are prepared. I encourage all New Yorkers to monitor their local weather forecasts, pay attention to alerts and plan accordingly."

New York state agencies and authorities are in constant communication with government partners throughout the state and are prepared to respond to any requests for assistance.

New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, "Storms bringing heavy rain this week could cause localized flash flooding in impacted communities. Take time now to review your emergency preparedness plans and make sure everyone in your household knows what to do in case of a flooding emergency. Check your local forecast this week and be extra cautious if you are commuting or planning outdoor activities."

Watches and warnings for severe thunderstorms and flooding are currently in effect for several areas across the state. For a complete listing of weather alerts and forecasts, visit the National Weather Service website at https://alerts.weather.gov.

Hochul’s team said New Yorkers are encouraged to sign up for emergency alerts by subscribing to NY Alert at alert.ny.gov, a free service providing critical emergency information to your cell phone or computer.

State Agency Preparations

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services' emergency operations center is monitoring weather and travel conditions, and coordinating any 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.

The Department of Transportation is monitoring weather conditions and is prepared to respond with more than 3,489 supervisors and operators. All field staff are available to fully engage and respond. Staff can be configured into any type of response crews that are needed (flood response, chipper, load and haul, sewer jet, cut and toss, traffic signal, etc.). Crews are checking and clearing drainage structures to make sure they are free of debris and clogs.

Statewide equipment numbers are as follows:

  • 1,426 large dump trucks
  • 327 large loaders
  • 80 tracked and wheeled excavators
  • 79 chippers
  • 18 graders
  • 18 vacuum trucks with sewer jets
  • 14 tree crew bucket trucks

•The Thruway Authority is closely monitoring the weather forecast with 658 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:

  • 355 large and small dump trucks
  • 59 loaders
  • 32 trailers
  • 6 vac trucks
  • 13 excavators
  • 8 brush chippers
  • 100 chainsaws
  • 23 aerial trucks
  • 22 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 emails, 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 police officers, forest rangers, emergency management and regional staff are on alert and monitoring weather conditions. DEC personnel are actively patrolling areas and infrastructure likely to be impacted by severe weather – including heavy rainfall and local flooding – and will work closely with state and local agencies to coordinate flood mitigation equipment including pumps and sandbags in the event mitigation is needed to protect homes, businesses or infrastructure. All available assets, including swift water rescue teams, are positioned to assist with any emergency response.

•New York State Park Police and park personnel are on alert and closely monitoring weather conditions and impacts. Response equipment is being fueled, tested and prepared for storm response use. State Parks has 12 sawyer crews available for deployment as needed. Park visitors can visit https://parks.ny.gov, check the free NY State Parks Explorer mobile app 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 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.

•The 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. Customers can sign up for real-time service alerts via text or email. These alerts are also available via the MTA's apps: MYmta and TrainTime.

•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, 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.

Safety Tips

Prepare for severe weather:

√ 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.

√ 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.

√ 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 and ATM cards.

For more safety tips, visit the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services safety tips web page at https://www.dhses.ny.gov/safety-and-prevention.

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