Governor Andrew Cuomo Monday announced the strategic deployment of assets throughout the state as heavy rain and flash flooding are forecast for areas of the Southern Tier, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, Capital Region and Mid-Hudson Valley. Remnants of Tropical Depression Florence will overspread the state today and will continue through Tuesday, with the heaviest rain from Monday night through Tuesday. One to three inches of rain are possible locally, especially in urban areas, and near creeks and small streams, and at headwater points on rivers. Flash Flood Watches will be in effect from this evening through Tuesday for portions of the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, Capital Region and Mid-Hudson Valley.
As part of New York’s ongoing support to states impacted by Hurricane Florence, the New York National Guard continues to support missions to states hardest hit. Today, two CH-47s Chinook helicopters, along with eight soldiers, departed from Rochester Army Aviation Support Facility bound for Joint National Guard Base McEntire in Columbia, South Carolina. The CH-47 is a large double rotor helicopter which can carry up to 9.5 tons of cargo or up to 30 people.
“As remnants of Hurricane Florence move into the state today and into tomorrow, heavy rain and the potential for flash flooding are expected, especially in areas impacted by flooding from storms last month,” Governor Cuomo said. “State assets stand ready to assist as needed, but I urge all New Yorkers to remain vigilant, monitor local forecasts, and plan accordingly to help ensure you and your families are safe ahead of the storm.”
Tropical moisture resulting from Florence will bring widespread rainfall to the state late Monday through Tuesday. Areas south of the Adirondacks, especially in Central New York, the Southern Tier, Capital Region, and Mid-Hudson Valley, will receive 1 to 3 inches of rain, which may fall heavy at times. This rainfall is expected to produce localized ponding of water and standing water on roadways, with some minor flooding of urban and poor drainage areas possible. Due to the expected high rainfall rates, there is a slight risk for flash flooding. The heaviest rainfall rates will range from a half-inch to an inch per hour Monday night and Tuesday morning. Flash Flood Watches will be in effect from this evening through Tuesday for portions the Southern Tier, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, Capital Region and Mid-Hudson Valley. Residents in areas prone to flooding should stay tuned to local media outlets for the latest weather forecast. For a complete listing of weather watches and warnings as they are issued, visit the National Weather Service website.
State Agency Actions
At the Governor’s direction, The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Office of Emergency Management will activate tonight to monitor the impacts of the storm as it moves through the state. DHSES has been in constant contact with the National Weather Service, state agencies, and county emergency management officials throughout the state. DHSES’ Office of Fire Prevention and Control has three Type 3 Swift Water Urban Search and Rescue teams en route to staging areas in Binghamton in the Southern Tier, Guilderland in the Capital Region and the State Fire Academy in Montour Falls in the Finger Lakes, in the event assistance is needed by local first responders. Each of these teams consist of ten personnel, an inflatable boat and a high axle vehicle. The Division has also staged a Communications Vehicle and equipment to Binghamton. DHSES has also deployed senior staff to New York City, Seneca, Onondaga, Albany and Oneida Counties to monitor the storms.
The state’s ten regional stockpiles are prepared to deploy key resources to assist with any flooding issues should they occur. Currently, stockpiles are equipped with:
• Approximately 700 generators
• Over 200 light towers
• Over 1,250 pumps
• Over 1.8 million sandbags
• 18 sandbaggers
• Over 438,000 bottles and cans of water
• Over 28,500 ready to eat meals
• 9,650 cots
• 12,340 blankets and 13,613 pillows
• 6,771 feet of Aquadam
The Department of Transportation will be setting up staging areas in Binghamton, Oneonta and Cairo in anticipation of the need for storm response. NYSDOT senior staff will be deployed to various locations today in anticipation of the coming storm. Equipment to be provided at each staging area is as follows:
• Two excavators (one tracked, one wheeled), one vacuum truck, one tree truck with chipper
• One tractor trailer with lowboy with a tracked excavator
Assets being staged in Oneonta and Binghamton will be coming from other regions, while assets in Cairo will be utilized from existing resources within the Capital Region.
Existing regional assets are as follows:
• Capital Region: 10 tractor trailers, 12 wheeled and tracked excavators, two bulldozers, three graders, one vacuum truck with sewer jet, 163 large dump trucks, 38 large loaders, one tree crew bucket truck, nine chippers and three traffic signal trucks.
• Mohawk Valley: four tractor trailers, nine wheeled and tracked excavators, three graders, one vacuum truck with sewer jet, 87 large dump trucks, 23 large loaders, one tree crew bucket truck, seven chippers and three traffic signal trucks.
• Mid-Hudson Valley: nine tractor trailers, seven wheeled and tracked excavators, one grader, four vacuum trucks with sewer jets, 224 large dump trucks, 50 large loaders, two tree crew bucket trucks, 12 chippers and eight traffic signal trucks.
• Southern Tier/Binghamton area: seven tractor trailers, 11 wheeled and tracked excavators, two graders, two vacuum trucks with sewer jets, 157 large dump trucks, 37 large loaders, two tree crew bucket trucks, nine chippers and 10 traffic signal trucks.
Motorists are reminded that State Law mandates that if an intersection is “blacked out” and the traffic signal is not operational, the intersection is automatically a “four-way” stop. In the event of closed or blocked roadways due to flooding, downed power lines or debris, motorists are advised to exercise caution and obey all traffic signs or barricades in place, regardless of whether a roadway looks clear.
The Department of Environmental Conservation’s Forest Rangers, Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs), and Emergency Management staff are on alert and ready to deploy to communities impacted by heavy rain and flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Florence. All available assets, including drone pilots, boats, and utility vehicles, are being pre-positioned and ready to assist with any emergency response. In addition, DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers and Forest Rangers are prepositioning a swiftwater team with airboats, whitewater rafts, and motorized boats ready for deployment.
In anticipation of potentially heavy rainfall from the remnants of Florence, the New York State Canal Corporation today opened the upper gates of the movable dams on the Erie Canal between Lock E-8 in Scotia and Lock E-15 in Fort Plain. The Canal will be temporarily closed to navigation between those points as opening the gates will reduce the water levels approximately 4 feet. The Canal Corporation has made facilities available to safe harbor vessels on the eastern end of the closure in Waterford and on the western end in several locations between St. Johnsville and Utica Harbor. Boaters should check the notices to mariners at www.canals.ny.gov for the latest information and can also sign up to have the notices emailed or texted to them.
The New York State Police will be monitoring the storm and is prepared to add additional personnel and patrols affected areas as needed. All State Police assets, including 4x4s, utility vehicles, mobile command vehicles and aircraft are staged and ready for deployment.
New York State Parks continues to actively monitor the situation and has directed the Park Police and park personnel to take appropriate action to prepare for possible flooding at State Park facilities. Equipment is prepared and ready for deployment if needed that may be necessary to respond to flood-related issues. Park patrons should monitorwww.parks.ny.gov or call their local park office for the latest updates regarding park hours, openings and closings.
The Governor recommended the following safety precautions:
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.
At the Governor’s direction New York State has recently improved the NY-Alert emergency alerting system. NY-Alert warns citizens of critical information and emergencies and provides timely information to protect lives. Warnings and emergency information can be directed to a phone call, email, text message or fax. Visit alert.ny.gov for more information.
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 container.
• 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 water-proofing
Have disaster supplies on hand, including:
• Flashlights 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