New York Governor Asks To Prepare for Thunderstorm

Governor Hochul Urges New Yorkers To Prepare for Severe Thunderstorms This Afternoon and Tonight

Western New York, Finger Lakes, the Southern Tier and Central New York Will Continue to See Heavy Rain, High Winds, Some Hail, and the Possibility of Isolated Tornadoes

State Agencies Have Prepared Emergency Assets at Governor Hochul’s Direction

Governor Kathy Hochul today urged New Yorkers throughout Upstate New York to prepare for severe thunderstorms and high winds beginning late Sunday afternoon and into Monday.  In addition to the ongoing Heat Advisory, the National Weather Service has forecast the Western New York, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Central New York Regions as having an enhanced risk of being impacted by these storms.  Forecasts in these regions are calling for heavy rainfall, damaging winds, hail and the possibility of isolated tornados.  Locally heavy downpours may also produce minor flooding in low lying areas, as well as those with poor drainage.

In response, Governor Hochul has directed state agencies to prepare emergency response resources and personnel to ensure localities have necessary support in the event of a hard impact.  New Yorkers are being encouraged to closely follow their local forecasts, check on neighbors and stay safe throughout the duration of the storms

“While a heat advisory remains in effect until late this afternoon with heat values up to 97 degrees, strong thunderstorms are forecast to move across the State later today and tonight bringing much needed relief to New Yorkers who have battled high heat for the last several days,” Governor Hochul said.  “I have directed State agencies to prepare emergency response assets should our county partners need assistance.  In the meantime, I ask New Yorkers to monitor these strong storms and prepare now in the event of a power outage.”

The storms will move from west to east throughout the afternoon and evening ahead of a cold front bringing relief from the stifling heat and humidity.  On Monday, New York City, Long Island and the Hudson Valley will be at a slight risk of severe weather.  Showers will diminish from west to east on Monday, and milder and drier weather is expected by Tuesday and Wednesday.

For a complete listing of weather watches, warnings, advisories and latest forecasts, visit the “National Weather Service” website.

New York Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, “The storms expected throughout much of Upstate have the potential to do real damage and New Yorkers should do all they can to prepare and stay safe.  The State Emergency Operations Center is closely monitoring these storms and our teams are prepared to support our local partners however we can.”

AGENCY PREPARATIONS

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 with more than 3,200 supervisors and operators.  Staff can be configured into any type of response crews that are needed (flood response, chipper, load & haul, sewer jet, cut & toss, traffic signal, etc.).  Statewide equipment numbers are as follows:

  • 1,297 large dump trucks
  • 304 large loaders
  • 81 tracked and wheeled excavators
  • 72 chippers
  • 19 graders
  • 15 vacuum trucks with sewer jets
  • 14 tree crew bucket trucks

Thruway Authority

The Thruway Authority has 640 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, generators, 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.

During this heatwave, Thruway staff have been monitoring roadway conditions and performing wellness checks on disabled vehicles.

Statewide equipment numbers are as follows:

  • 346 Large and Small Dump Trucks
  • 65 Large Loaders
  • 7 Vacuum Trucks
  • 16 Tracked and Wheeled Excavators
  • 8 Brush Chippers
  • 99 Chainsaws
  • 19 Bucket Trucks
  • 84 Portable Generators
  • 67 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.

New York Power Authority / Canal Corporation

The New York Power Authority and New York State Canal Corporation are monitoring conditions and preparing all assets for impeding weather.  NYPA and Canals representatives will remain in close contact with state, county, and local emergency personnel as necessary.  NYPA is prepared to send NYPA transmission and other personnel to assist if needed.  The Canal Corporation will update the public as needed through its Notice to Mariners alerts.  Members of the public may sign-up to receive these notices on the Canal Corporation website.

Department of Public Service

New York’s utilities have approximately 6,400 workers available, as necessary, to engage in damage assessment, response, repair, and restoration efforts across New York State, for the potential severe weather.  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.

SEVERE WEATHER SAFETY TIPS

Preparedness

  • 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 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

Flash Flooding

  • 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.

Lightning

  • 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.