Albany, NY - September 30, 2015 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today urged residents to begin preparing their homes and families for heavy rains and potential flooding and the possible arrival of Hurricane Joaquin later this week. The Governor also reminded New Yorkers to sign up for NY-Alert to receive immediate alerts on flood warnings and severe storms.
“Our state has seen the damage that extreme weather can cause time and time again – and I am urging New Yorkers take precautions for more heavy storms in the coming days,” Governor Cuomo said. “Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Irene proved that you do not have to be near the coast to be impacted by Mother Nature. I have directed State agencies to ready their emergency response equipment in partnership with local governments, and I encourage all of our state’s residents to be prepared and stay safe.”
The storm currently moving through the State will bring at least 3-6 inches of rain through Thursday for many parts of the State, with the heaviest rainfall bands moving now from the southern Adirondacks to the Capital District, and east to the northern Taconics. By noon, the heaviest rains should move out of New York State; light rain and showers will continue through the afternoon. The likeliest threats from this storm will be minor to moderate urban and poor drainage flooding.
Flood Watches are currently in effect for the following counties:
- Broome, Cayuga, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Otsego, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Sullivan, Tioga, Tompkins, Yates – until noon today
- Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie Ulster, Warren, Washington – until Thursday morning
- Essex – until late tonight
Today through Friday, the combination of strong northerly winds, saturated ground, and leaves still on trees will bring the potential for downed trees and scattered power outages. Another possible round of rain this weekend from Hurricane Joaquin will increase the potential for widespread flash flooding and minor coastal flooding.
This morning, the National Hurricane Center reported that Joaquin was upgraded to a hurricane. At 8:00 a.m., the center of Hurricane Joaquin was located 245 miles east-northeast of the central Bahamas and moving SW at near six miles per hour. A general motion toward the west-southwest or southwest is expected to continue through tonight. A turn toward the west and a decrease in forward speed are forecast on Thursday, and Joaquin is expected to move near or over portions of the central Bahamas tonight and Thursday. Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 75 mph with higher gusts. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the center, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 125 miles from the center. Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours.
John P. Melville, Commissioner of the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services said: “The State is doing its part to make sure we are ready to support our local partners quickly, however it all starts at home. Having emergency supplies on hand such as flashlights and batteries, and water and canned goods is essential. Residents should begin monitoring weather conditions through local media reports and broadcasts, and be sure to follow any protective orders issued by emergency officials.”
Governor Cuomo urged New Yorkers to take the following actions:
- Know your weather terms – A flash flood “watch” indicates flash flooding or flooding is possible within the designated watch area. When a watch is issued, be alert and ready to take action. A flash flood “warning” means flash flooding or flooding has been reported or is imminent. You should take necessary precautions and actions at once.
- Stock up on emergency supplies, including non-perishable food and water, to last for more than 72 hours or three days.
- Know how to contact all family members at all times. Identify an out-of-town friend or family member to be the “emergency family contact” and make sure all family members know that number.
- Designate a family emergency meeting point – a familiar location where the family can meet in case the home is inaccessible.
- Prepare an emergency phone list of people and organizations that may need to be called, including schools, doctors, child/senior care providers, and insurance agents.
- Know the hurricane / storm risks in your area, including storm surge history.
- Learn about your community’s warning signals and evacuation plans.
- Start thinking about where to relocate your pets during a storm.
- Stock up on prescribed medicines and prepare supplies for persons with special needs such as children, the elderly, and infirm.
- Check on neighbors to ensure they are aware of the potential danger and what they need to do to prepare for the storm.
More information on hurricane preparedness and what you can do to protect yourself and your family is available here.
The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) and its four offices -- Counter Terrorism, Emergency Management, Fire Prevention and Control, and Interoperable and Emergency Communications -- provide leadership, coordination and support for efforts to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorism and other man-made and natural disasters, threats, fires and other emergencies. For more information, visit the DHSES Facebook page, follow @NYSDHSES on Twitter, or visit online.