Cuomo directs state agencies to prepare for Hurricane Isaias

LONG ISLAND, NY (OnSachem.com / OnTownMedia.com) — Governor Andrew Cuomo today directed state agencies to prepare and pre-deploy emergency response assets ahead of Hurricane Isaias potentially impacting the region.

While Cuomo said there is a great deal of uncertainty among forecasters concerning the final path of the storm, current models suggest the storm may impact Long Island, New York City and the lower Hudson Valley early next week. Cuomo is also urging New Yorkers to ensure their households are prepared for the storm and to continue monitoring local weather forecasts for the most up-to-date information. 

"I have directed our emergency response agencies to pre-deploy assets as we closely monitor this Category 1 hurricane that is currently expected to sweep up the East Coast," Cuomo said. "New Yorkers are far too familiar with the destructive powers of these storms, and I am urging the public to be prepared and stay alert as conditions continue to develop throughout the weekend."  

Current forecasts are calling for the center of Isaias to move over the Southeastern Bahamas today before crossing close to the Central Bahamas tonight. The storm is expected to head east of the Florida peninsula on Saturday and Sunday, when it could move up the East Coast and reach the New York City-metro area Monday night into Tuesday. As the storm continues to track north, there is potential for tropical storm-force winds in the lower Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island. 

While the National Weather Service has yet to issue any watches, warnings, or advisories associated with this storm for New York, this may change as more information concerning the exact path comes to light this weekend. New Yorkers can view the complete listing of these notices, as well as access the latest forecasts, by visiting the National Weather Service website here

Agency Preparations 

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services' Emergency Operations Center remains activated due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will monitor weather conditions, coordinate state response operations and stay in contact with localities throughout the duration of the event. State Stockpiles are also prepared to deploy assets to localities to support any storm-related needs. This includes pumps, chainsaws, sandbags and bottled water.  

Department of Transportation

The State Department of Transportation is prepared to respond with the following assets:  

  • 1,460 large dump trucks
  • 313 large loaders
  • 78 chippers
  • 77 wheeled and tracked excavators
  • 35 traffic tower platforms
  • 20 graders
  • 15 vacuum trucks with sewer jets
  • 13 tree crew bucket trucks  

Department of Environmental Conservation

DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs), Forest Rangers, and Emergency Management staff are on alert closely monitoring the track of the storm and equipment is ready to deploy to communities impacted by heavy rain, flooding, and strong winds. All available assets, including drone pilots, boats, and utility vehicles, are ready to assist with any emergency response. 

Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation

State Parks is monitoring the storm forecast, and regional staff are fueling and preparing UTVs/ATVs, generators, and wood chippers; identifying sawyer crews; clearing drainage structures of potential blockages, and removing known hazardous limbs and trees. Potential visitors are urged to visit https://parks.ny.gov/  for updates on any potential changes on facility operating hours stemming from the storm. 

Utility crews from PSEG will be staging trucks and supplies Sunday at Bethpage State Park in the picnic area parking lot and near the clubhouse in anticipation of the storm. 

Statewide assets are as follows: 

  • 39 Chippers
  • 29 Dual rear axle dump trucks
  • 119 Single rear axle dump trucks
  • 12 Aerial lift - truck mounted (bucket trucks)
  • 31 Excavators
  • 229 Loaders of various size
  • 44 Loader-backhoes of various size 

New York State Police

The State Police is closely monitoring the storm and is making preparations in advance of any possible impacts on New York. The State Police will be fully staffed and all equipment will be operational and ready for deployment, including four-wheel drive vehicles, utility terrain vehicles and boats. 

Department of Public Service

New York's utilities have approximately 4,500 workers available to engage in damage assessment, response and restoration across New York State. Department of Public Service staff will track the utilities' work throughout the storm event and will ensure the utilities shift the appropriate staffing to the regions anticipated to experience the greatest impact. 

Thruway Authority

The Thruway Authority has 651 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, smaller generators, smaller pumps and equipment hauling trailers, as well as signage and other traffic control devices available for any detours or closures. Variable Message Signs, Highway Advisory Radio and social media are utilized to alert motorists of weather conditions on the Thruway. 

Statewide equipment numbers are as follows:  

  • 207 Large Dump Trucks
  • 123 Small Dump Trucks
  • 60 Loaders
  • 26 Trailers
  • 7 Vac Trucks
  • 10 Tracked Excavators
  • 7 Wheeled Excavators
  • 11 Brush Chippers
  • 99 Chainsaws
  • 21 Aerial Trucks
  • 22 Skid Steers
  • 87 Portable Generators
  • 69 Portable Light Unit 

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 real-time traffic 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 by following this link: www.thruway.ny.gov/tas/index.shtml. For real-time updates, motorists can follow @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. 

Safety Tips

If traveling during heavy rain, 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, New Yorkers should: 

  • 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 Check to see if your neighbors have power. Check on people with access or functional needs.
  • 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 (4) 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.
  • In cold weather, stay warm by dressing in layers and minimizing time spent outdoors. Be aware of cold stress symptoms (i.e., hypothermia) and seek proper medical attention if symptoms appear.
  • 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 (ATMs) and elevators may not be working. 

For more safety tips, visit the DHSES website at www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/safety-info/index.cfm.

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