GOVERNOR CUOMO URGES NEW YORKERS TO PREPARE FOR HEAVY RAIN AND POTENTIAL FLOODING THIS WEEKEND
Powerful Coastal Storm Could Bring Damaging Winds, Rainfall, and Flooding to the Finger Lakes, Central New York, Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley, and Mid-Hudson Valley Regions State Emergency Operations and Watch Centers in Enhanced Monitoring Mode State Agencies Inspecting and Clearing Culverts and Other Flood Prone Areas
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today warned New Yorkers to take precautions against flooding and power outages as a coastal storm containing heavy rain and gusty winds moves through the state starting Sunday afternoon. At the Governor's direction, the State Emergency Operations and Watch Centers are operating in Enhanced Monitoring Mode and agency officials have been preparing for possible flooding impacts by clearing culverts and debris.
Three inches of rain is expected in areas upstate Sunday afternoon through Monday, with up to five inches of rain possible across eastern Lake Ontario and the Finger Lakes, Central New York, Southern Tier, and Mid-Hudson Valley regions. Heavy rains could cause flooding on streams and rivers, low lying roadways, and in urban areas. Lake Ontario could experience minor to moderate lake shore flooding and coastal erosion late Sunday night through Monday as strong winds may increase water levels and wave action along the southern and eastern Lake Ontario shorelines.
"I urge New Yorkers to stay tuned to local weather forecasts and plan their travel accordingly to avoid potentially flooded roads and downed wires," Governor Cuomo said. "State agencies have taken precautionary measures to prepare for this weekend's storm and keep communities safe no matter what Mother Nature sends our way."
Current Weather Watches and Warnings
Flash Flood and High Wind Watches have been issued by the National Weather Service for many portions of the state.
Flash Flood Watch in effect from Sunday afternoon through Monday morning for Allegany, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Wayne and Northern Cayuga counties. High Wind Watch in effect from late Sunday night through Monday afternoon for Monroe, Wayne and Northern Cayuga counties.
Central New York:
Flash Flood Watch in effect for all of Central New York from Sunday afternoon through Monday morning. High Wind Watch in effect from late Sunday night through Monday afternoon for Oswego Onondaga, Oneida, Madison, and Otsego Counties.
Flash Flood Watch in effect for all of Southern Tier from Sunday afternoon through Monday morning.
High Wind Watch in effect from Monday morning through Monday afternoon for the entire Mohawk Valley.
Flash Flood Watch in effect for the North Country counties from Sunday afternoon through Monday morning. High Wind Watch in effect from Monday morning through Monday afternoon for Jefferson and Lewis counties.
Flash Flood Watch in effect for all of eastern New York from Sunday afternoon through Monday morning, including the Capital Region. High Wind Watch is in effect from Monday morning through Monday afternoon for Western Greene County, the Greater Capital Region and the Helderbergs.
Flash Flood Watch in effect for all of eastern New York from Sunday afternoon through Monday morning, including the Mid-Hudson Valley.
NYC and Long Island:
Flash Flood Watch in effect for New York City, and Long Island from Sunday afternoon through late Sunday night.
State Agency Preparations
The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services has prepared assets and stockpiles to support response efforts that may arise during the current weather watches in place across the state. The State Watch Center and Emergency Operations Centers are in enhanced monitoring and are operating for the duration of the storm. Additionally, the state's nine regional stockpiles are each prepared with a sandbagging machine, generators, pumps and hoses, and there are over 701,000 fillable sandbags statewide. The Division's swift water rescue teams are prepared for deploying, which includes New York Task Force-2 (NYTF-2), Urban Search and Rescue Teams, boats, and high axle vehicles.
Department of Environmental Conservation police officers, forest rangers and regional water engineers are on alert and monitoring the developing situation. All available assets are ready to assist with any emergency response or flooding events that may occur.
The Department of Transportation has been working to ensure the safety of the traveling public. DOT crews are preparing for the weekend weather by inspecting and clearing obstructions to drainage inlets and culverts; monitoring state-owned bridges for any indications of distress caused by increased velocity of flood waters; and staffing quick-clear crews to respond to infrastructure and flooding issues, including downed trees, and as other issues arise.
Before traveling, motorists are reminded to check 511NY by calling 511, or by visiting www.511ny.org. The free service allows users to check road conditions and transit information. Mobile users can download the free 511NY mobile app from the iTunes or Google Play stores. The app features Drive mode, which provides audible alerts along a chosen route while a user is driving, warning them about incidents and construction. Users can set a destination prior to departing and receive information on up to three routes.
In preparation for the current weekend forecast, Thruway Authority field staff have been cleaning and inspecting drainage structures. Equipment such as chain saws, chippers and pumps have been checked to ensure readiness. In addition to the routine patrols conducted by State Police on a daily basis, the Thruway Authority has scheduled supervisory staff to conduct roadway patrols and inspections on Sunday, focused in areas forecast to receive the most significant rainfall. This will enable staff to respond quickly in the event flooding develops. Staff will continue to monitor weather alerts from the National Weather Service and adjust monitoring and response accordingly.
The Thruway Authority encourages motorists to sign up for TRANSalert e-mails which provide the latest traffic conditions along the Thruway. Motorists can sign up for TRANSalerts by following this link:www.thruway.ny.gov/tas/index.shtml. Thruway travelers can also get real-time updates by following @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.
New Yorkers are encouraged to sign up for NY Alert at https://users.nyalert.gov to get immediate alerts on flood warnings and severe storms.
Below are flood preparation 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 www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/safety-info/flood/floodprepare.cfm.