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HomeEmergencyNew York Mayor, Governor Cuomo and OEM prepare the City and State for Tropical Storm Isaias

New York Mayor, Governor Cuomo and OEM prepare the City and State for Tropical Storm Isaias

NYC Mayor de Blasio and Office of Emergency Management & Governor Cuomo Prepare NYC and NY State for Tropical Storm Isaias

Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a media availability with Commissioner Deanne Criswell, Emergency Management. City Hall. Monday, August 3, 2020. Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

With an expected arrival of late Monday evening and throughout Tuesday, the Mayor of New York City, OEM (Office of Emergency Management) and Governor Cuomo prepared New York for what’s to come.

“We have a storm that will start late tonight with heavy rains, high winds, and coastal flooding. Now at this moment, I’m going to emphasize this – at this moment, from what we’ve heard from the National Weather Service, the impact appears to be limited in terms of New York City. But my friends, we have been surprised before by storms. We’ve been surprised by the way they can change at the last minute,” said the Mayor during his press briefing this morning.

“Lower Manhattan is particularly vulnerable in this situation based on what we’ve heard from the National Weather Service.”

Commissioner of Emergency Management, Deanne Criswell had the following to say:

“We’re looking at about two to four inches of rain spread across the city, and there could be some spots with locally higher amounts of rain. It should be – the bulk of the rain we expect to come in between one and 6:00 PM tomorrow. Along with that, we’re also going to see tropical storm force winds. They’re expected to start as early as 11:00 AM tomorrow, but probably more close to 2:00 PM, and we could see 35 to 45 mile per hour winds sustained for a period of two to three hours with some gusts up to 60 miles per hour.”

Farther down on this page you’ll find the full verse of what she shared with New Yorkers.

Later in the day Mayor de Blasio would hold yet another Press Conference at the South Street Seaport.

Office of Emergency Management tips for New York City Residents:

Tropical Storm Isaias to Impact NYC on Tuesday

According to the latest forecast, Tropical Storm Isaias will move into the region Tuesday into Tuesday night. A total of 2 to 4 inches of rain will be possible with locally higher amounts between 4 and 6 inches.

  • Flash Flood Watch is in effect for New York City from Tuesday morning through late Tuesday night.
  • Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for New York City until further notice.
  • Coastal Flood Watch is in effect for Brooklyn, Southern Queens, and Staten Island from Tuesday morning until Tuesday night.

Safety Tips

  • Make a plan before a storm arrives to help keep you and your family safe. Prepare a Go Bag that you can grab in case you need to leave your home in a hurry. Be sure to pack hand sanitizer and extra face coverings in your Go Bag.
  • If you have a disability or access or functional need, make sure your plan addresses how your needs may affect your ability to evacuate, shelter in place, or communicate with emergency workers. Arrange help from family, friends, or service providers if you will need assistance.
  • Sign up for Notify NYC, the City’s free, official source for information about emergency events and important city services, to receive emergency information via e-mail, text, phone, or Twitter.

NY Governor today:

“The most recent models show that New Yorkers need to be prepared for this weather system to hit the state in the next 24 hours, bringing with it strong winds and heavy rains that may lead to local flooding,” Governor Cuomo said. “I have directed our State agencies to deploy emergency assets to problematic areas to assist our local partners, and I am asking New Yorkers to be diligent and stay ready in case the storm intensifies on Tuesday.”

Last Friday, NY Governor Cuomo directed state agencies to prepare emergency response assets

Included within that day’s press release:

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 for the State of New York

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.

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.

Commissioner Deanne Criswell, Emergency Management:

“Tropical Storm Isaias is expected to bring heavy rainfall and strong winds. We should see some of that rain beginning around midnight tonight, but the bulk of that rain, we should see tomorrow. We’re looking at about two to four inches of rain spread across the city, and there could be some spots with locally higher amounts of rain. It should be – the bulk of the rain we expect to come in between one and 6:00 PM tomorrow. Along with that, we’re also going to see tropical storm force winds. They’re expected to start as early as 11:00 AM tomorrow, but probably more close to 2:00 PM, and we could see 35 to 45 mile per hour winds sustained for a period of two to three hours with some gusts up to 60 miles per hour. And due to the storm’s forecasted track, we also have, as the Mayor mentioned, the potential threat for moderate storm surge in particularly in the South Street Seaport area.

So, what are we doing for this? To mitigate the storm surge, as the Mayor said, we have activated our interim flood protection measures in the South Street Seaport area. Based on the forecasted impacts, we believe that this is the only area at threat for storm surge. The site itself consists of pre-deployed HESCO barriers, which are large sandbags, and then tiger dams, which we put in place time-of that are filled with water to close the gaps. It will span nearly a mile from Wall Street to Catherine Slip and South Street to Water Street. We started installing this at 7:00 AM yesterday, and it should be complete early this evening. You will see a visible presence of construction crews and emergency personnel in the area throughout the day to day as they finished the installation of this protection measure. But we’re also taking some additional actions. Again, we don’t think that we’re going to see severe impacts from this storm, but out of an overabundance of caution, we’re put in several pieces in place.

We’ve been in constant communication with the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center to monitor and coordinate with our partner agencies what the storm impacts may be. We’ve been holding daily inter-agency calls with all of our partners, City agencies, and other partner agencies since Friday, and our EOC will activate virtually beginning at 8:00 PM tonight. We’re going to deploy operations personnel into each of our boroughs so they can assess street conditions and coordinate resources, time-of as needed. They’ll be serving streets and roadways that are typically vulnerable to flooding, including the FDR, Belt Parkway, Cross Island Parkway, and Staten Island Roadways, as well as local streets and coastal areas in all five boroughs. We have activated our flash flood emergency plan, which mitigates flash flood potential, and part of that is DEP and DOT teams have been out clearing catch basins through the weekend in preparation for the storm. We’ve also placed our Downed Tree Task Force on alert and we’re lining up emergency tree contracts. Our utility partners have brought in additional crews to respond to power outages. Verizon has activated their storm crisis team and DOITT has reached out to all of our telecom partners. NYCHA will be adding additional staff to respond to any service disruptions. We will be securing our City construction sites today and preparing City facilities for any potential storm impacts. Department of Buildings is going to bring in additional response teams to assess any damage post-storm. DOT is reaching out to all of our outdoor restaurants so they can secure outdoor furniture, and we are tapping off all of our generators with fuel that are supporting critical facilities.

And so, what can New Yorkers do? First and foremost, know your zone. While we will not be activating or issuing an evacuation order for this event. This is a good time for New Yorkers to look and see what their zone is. New York City is divided into six hurricane evacuation zones, and you can find out if you live in one by visiting nyc.gov/knowyourzone. It’s also a good time to make sure that you have the ability to stay informed. NotifyNYC is the primary mechanism for communicating out to the public. You can also follow us on social media and listen to your local news station as we provide updates to what the storm impacts are. And then have a plan, make a plan with your family so you will know what to do, how to find each other, and how to communicate in an emergency, and also don’t forget to plan for your pets.

And then in particular for this storm, we want you to stay safe. We want you to prepare for strong winds, strong winds will bring down trees, power lines, and they can turn unsecured objects into flying projectiles. So, what you should do is check the areas immediately surrounding your homes or businesses for any unsecured objects that could be potentially dangerous conditions, tree limbs, garbage cans, yard debris. We want you to secure all of these things so we make sure that everybody stays safe. We want you to anchor objects that could be unsafe, such as gas grills or propane tanks or patio furniture, and then prepare for potential flooding. It’s never safe to drive or walk into floodwaters. Remember the saying, “turn around, don’t drown.” It only takes six inches of fast moving water to knock an adult off their feet or 12 inches of water to carry away most cars. And as a reminder, as the Mayor said, we really want to encourage everybody to always check on your neighbors, your family, and your loved ones to make sure they’re safe.”

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