Albany, NY - June 20, 2015 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today urged New Yorkers to take steps to protect themselves and stay aware of current and potential hazardous weather conditions. Heavy rainfall from the remnants of Tropical Depression Bill is expected to impact the Hudson Valley, Long Island, and New York City Saturday night through Sunday evening, with the heaviest rain expected to occur overnight.
“With heavy rain on the forecast this evening and Sunday, I urge New Yorkers to exercise caution and take the necessary steps to stay safe,” Governor Cuomo said. “New Yorkers should be prepared for the possibility of flooding and hazardous travel conditions, and I urge all residents to put safety first.”
A flood watch is currently in effect for New York City, Nassau, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester counties until further notice. New York City has activated their Flash Flood Emergency Plan in anticipation of heavy rain today and into tomorrow.
A flood warning is currently in effect for Tompkins County until further notice.
A flash flood or flood watch means there is a potential for flooding within the designated watch area based on current forecasts — when a watch is issued, citizens should be alert and ready to take action. A flash flood or flood warning is issued when flooding has been reported or is imminent — at that point, the public should take necessary precautions and actions at once. It is essential that citizens get up-to-date weather information during flood watches and warnings, which can escalate quickly.
The best way to receive official emergency information, which can change quickly, is to subscribe to NY-ALERT, the state’s free, all-hazards notification system, and by downloading the app for iOS and Android devices at ialertz.com.
New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) Commissioner John P. Melville said, “DHSES is monitoring the regions that could be impacted by severe weather and is prepared to provide any assistance needed by our local partners. As always during flood watches and warnings, New Yorkers should monitor their local media, take precautions to stay safe, and take instruction from their local leaders and emergency managers, especially if they are told to evacuate.”
Governor Cuomo urged residents in the affected areas to pay special attention to the following safety information.
Flood safety preparedness:
- 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.
- Program emergency numbers into the phones of each household member.
- Make an itemized list – as well as potential 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, first aid supplies, and drinking water. Store drinking water in clean, closed containers.
- Have a plan for 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 the location of your property relates to 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 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.
Flood safety during a flood:
- As a precaution prior to any flood, customers should check their basement drains to make sure they are clear and energized wires are off the floor. If flooding of a home or business has already occurred, customers should contact their utility companies to have electricity and natural gas service turned off. In the event of flooding, customers should never attempt to turn off electricity and natural gas service. Stay out of flooded basements. Energized wiring or outlets below the water line may pose a hazard; natural gas service in a flooded basement may also pose a danger.
- Monitor the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Weather Radio or your local radio and TV station broadcasts for information.
- If local officials advise evacuation, do so promptly. If you are directed to a specific location, go there.
- Know where shelters are located.
- Bring outside possessions, including lawn furniture, garbage cans, and other movable objects, inside the house, or tie them down securely.
- If there is time, move essential items and furniture to upper floors in the house.
- Disconnect electrical appliances that cannot be moved. DO NOT touch them if you are wet or standing in water.
- Secure your home by locking all doors and windows.
- 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.
- More safety tips for staying safe before, during, and after floods and other storms can be found on the DHSES website. For more information on how to prepare for, respond to, and recover from severe weather, click here.