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Hurricane Preparedness Week in NY

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Governor Kathy Hochul and the National Hurricane Center on Monday announced Hurricane Preparedness Week will run from April 30 through May 6 and encouraged New Yorkers to review their personal emergency preparedness plans ahead of the upcoming 2023 Atlantic hurricane season. Hurricanes and tropical storms are destructive weather systems that can cause death and catastrophic damage, leaving communities reeling from their effects weeks, months, and even years afterward. The annual campaign, in partnership with the National Hurricane Center (NHC), is designed to educate New Yorkers about the threat of tropical storms, how to prepare for and stay safe during a hurricane, and what to consider when cleaning up after a storm.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the NHC, there were 14 named hurricanes in 2022 in the Atlantic. With the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season now only a month away, Governor Hochul urged New Yorkers to prepare in advance.

“My number one focus whether it’s a destructive hurricane, devastating winter storm, or other weather-related event, will always be to keep New Yorkers safe,” said Governor Hochul. “During my first month in office, when Hurricane Ida ripped through New York State, I saw firsthand the devastating effects that hurricanes can have on our communities. My administration continues to work with its partners across all levels of government to best protect New York State against the impacts of catastrophic storms such as hurricanes.”

In 2022, Governor Hochul announced an Action Plan by the Governor’s Office of Resilient Homes and Communities to strengthen the resiliency of communities in future storm events. The proposed plan included $41.2 million in federal funding to support initiatives that will help residents adapt to the effects of climate change while prioritizing historically underserved communities. Programs are open to counties outside New York City with a presidential disaster declaration for individual assistance, including Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties. The Governor’s Office also continues to maintain a web page for those affected by Ida, including links to relief and resources for clean-up and restoration efforts.

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, “New Yorkers in coastal communities are well aware of the impacts of heavy rains, destructive winds, and flooding caused by tropical storms and hurricanes each summer. Unfortunately, we have begun to feel these impacts in other parts of the state, sometimes hundreds of miles from the coast in upstate regions. It is critical that every New Yorker takes time this week and throughout the month to prioritize hurricane preparedness: know your risk, stay informed, and have a plan.”

National Hurricane Center Director Michael Brennan said, “I encourage all New Yorkers to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season. The first step is knowing your risk. If you live near the coast, find out if you live in a storm surge evacuation zone and have your evacuation plan ready if you’re asked to leave your home ahead of a storm. Flooding from heavy rainfall can affect you even if you live well inland, hundreds of miles from the coast. As we saw with Ida in 2021 in New York, rainfall flooding has been the deadliest hazard from tropical storms and hurricanes in the past 10 years.”

Hurricane Safety 

All New Yorkers should know how to track tropical storms and receive timely alerts that let them know what they need to do to stay safe, including evacuation. The best way to receive timely weather alerts is by signing up for NY-Alert, a free service that provides weather and other emergency-related alerts.

Take the following steps to ensure you and your loved ones are protected: 

  • Develop a household disaster plan and know how to contact family members at all times. Identify an out-of-town friend or family member to be the “emergency family contact” and make certain all family members have the contact info. 
  • Designate an emergency meeting spot – a familiar location where the family can meet if the residence cannot be accessed. 
  • Know hurricane and storm risks in your community.
  • If you live near coastal areas, learn about your area’s storm surge history and your community’s warning signals and evacuation plans, including safe routes inland and the location of official shelters. 
  • Know where to relocate pets during a storm – most shelters will not allow pets. 

 Keep the following supplies on hand: 

  • Enough non-perishable food and water supplies for 10 days.
  • Battery-operated radios and flashlights and an ample supply of batteries.
  • First aid kit with a supply of medicines. 
  • Important documents: Insurance policies, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc. in a waterproof container.
  • Cash, checkbook, credit cards, and ATM cards.
  • An emergency contact list of people and organizations who may need to be called: schools, doctors, providers, and insurance contacts.

 Take the following preventative measures: 

  • Obtain and store materials, such as plywood, necessary to properly secure your home. 
  • Repair loose and clear clogged rain gutters and downspouts. 
  • Secure or bring inside lawn furniture and other loose, lightweight objects such as garbage cans and garden tools that could become projectiles in high winds. Also keep trees and shrubbery trimmed of dead wood. 
  • Review insurance policies to determine the extent of coverage before a storm strikes. 
  • Determine where to move boats in an emergency. 
  • Be aware of local weather conditions by listening to National Weather Service broadcasts on NOAA Weather Radio and reports from local television and radio stations. 
  • Know how to turn off the power, heat, and water at home. 

For more information, visit the DHSES Safety and Prevention page at https://dhses.ny.gov/safety.

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