Governor Cuomo Directs State Agencies to Prepare Emergency Response Assets As Tropical Storm Henri is Forecast to Impact Downstate Regions This Weekend

Hurricane Watch Issued for Suffolk County; Tropical Storm Watch Issued for Nassau and Southern Westchester Counties

 State Agencies Continue Flood Response in Mohawk Valley and Southern Tier Regions Following Heavy Rain This Week 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday, directed state agencies to prepare emergency response assets as Tropical Storm Henri is currently forecast to impact areas in the lower Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island regions with heavy rain, high winds and the potential for gusts of up to 65 miles per hour beginning Sunday or Monday. Governor Cuomo urged New Yorkers in these areas to prepare for tropical storm-like weather and to monitor local weather forecasts for updated information on the storm.

“We’ve seen this scenario before and we are taking every precaution to prepare for the impacts Henri may bring to New York,” Governor Cuomo said. “I have directed state agencies to remain at the ready with emergency response assets if they are needed, and I urge New Yorkers to be vigilant and stay alert this weekend as potentially dangerous weather moves in.”

Henri is currently located 345 miles south-southeast of North Carolina, and is expected to turn northwest late Friday, followed by an acceleration toward the north and north-northeast over the weekend. The center of Henri off the East Coast will strengthen over the next couple of days and it is forecast to make landfall near southern New England at near-hurricane strength.

New York State agencies are also currently assisting Oneida County and the cities of Rome and Utica with emergency response equipment and resources after heavy rains swept through the area on Thursday, causing flash flooding and displacement of residents in multiple locations. The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services immediately responded to a request for assistance from Oneida County and provided resources and equipment to address multiple flood-related issues and sheltering issues for displaced residents, including 18 water pumps, hoses and associated equipment, six gas generators, more than 400 MREs, more than 2,000 bottles of water and dozens of cots, blankets and pillows. These materials were delivered to the Central Fire Station in Rome, which is currently serving as a command post for emergency responders. As a precaution, the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services has deployed a sandbagging machine to Oneida County and an additional 12 water pumps to the Department of Transportation’s maintenance facility near Utica.

Additionally, the Department of Environmental Conservation has issued an emergency declaration for Steuben County to expedite permitting that will help the area recover following the State’s response to widespread flash flooding earlier this week.

 The National Weather Service has issued a Hurricane Watch for Suffolk County and a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Nassau and Southern Westchester Counties.

New Yorkers can view the complete listing of these notices, as well as access the latest forecasts, by visiting the National Hurricane Center or National Weather Service Public Alerts.

Agency Preparations

 Department of Transportation –The State Department of Transportation will be deploying additional staff and equipment from other regions to Long Island including traffic signal technicians, chippers, traffic signal repair trucks, vacuum trucks, and tree crew equipment.  Additional generators will be deployed to both the lower Hudson Valley and Long Island.

Agency assets are as follows:

  • 1,329 large dump trucks
  • 294 large loaders
  • 73 chippers
  • 77 wheeled and tracked excavators
  • 56 tractor trailers
  • 36 traffic tower platforms
  • 14 vacuum trucks with sewer jets
  • 11 tree crew bucket trucks

 

Thruway Authority – Thruway Authority staff are proactively inspecting and clearing drainage systems and performing general maintenance on equipment to respond to potential flooding. Staff are prepared to respond to any flooding issues statewide with more than 664 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 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.

New York State Police-The New York State Police has instructed all Troopers to remain vigilant and closely monitor conditions for any problems. Additional personnel will be deployed to affected areas as needed. All four-wheel drive vehicles and all specialty vehicles, including Utility Terrain Vehicles, are in-service.

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.

Department of Public Service-New York’s utilities have approximately 5,500 workers available to engage in damage assessment, response, and restoration efforts across the State. Department of Public Service staff will track the utilities’ work throughout the storm event and will ensure utilities shift the appropriate staffing to the regions anticipated to be impacted the most.

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 the parks website here or call their local park office for the latest updates regarding park hours, openings and closings.

New York Power Authority / Canal Corporation-The New York Power Authority and the Canal Corporation have secured and prepared assets and are currently monitoring forecasts and conditions. The Power Authority is ready to support power restoration activities if needed.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority-The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is taking all necessary precautions to protect its transportation network and deliver safe service. MTA agencies are working closely together, coordinating with local partners to develop precautionary plans should service be impacted. The MTA is deploying additional personnel and prepositioning essential backup equipment across the commuter railroads, subways, and agency’s bridges and tunnels. The Long Island Rail Road is proactively tackling items such as overgrown trees, utility poles, drainage and switches that significant weather events typically affect to mitigate impacts. On the subway, maintenance personnel will inspect track drains in flood-prone areas, and check and stage track pumps and storm boxes prior to the storms. The MTA encourages customers to take extra precautions when traveling during heavy rain and winds. This includes allowing for extra travel time, taking extra caution when walking on platforms and stairs, watching for slippery conditions and being mindful for overhead foliage or wires.

Port Authority-The Port Authority’s Office of Emergency Management will be monitoring weather conditions this weekend for any local impacts of Hurricane Henri. Passengers traveling through Port Authority airports are encouraged to reach out to carriers and airlines directly for the latest information on any potential 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.

Safety Tips- If traveling during heavy rain, please drive with care and keep these safety tips in mind:

  • 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.
  • Leave early to avoid being marooned on flooded roads.
  • Follow recommended routes. DO NOT ignore emergency detours to view flooded areas.
  • 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.
  • If you are in your car and water begins to rise rapidly around you, abandon the vehicle immediately.

Prepare for flooding and 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.
  • 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 waterproofing.
  • 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

If experiencing a power outage:

  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 and elevators may not be working.

For more safety tips, visit the DHSES website here.