Governor Cuomo Directs State Agencies To Prepare For High Winds And Potential Power Outages In The Western New York, Finger Lakes And North Country Regions
Alert Issued by the Governor’s Office on November 14, 2020
Winds Gusts May Reach Up to 65 MPH Along Lake Erie and Lake Ontario Potentially Causing Power Outages, Property Damage and Dangerous Travel Conditions
Lakeshore Flooding Possible in Locations Along Lake Erie and Lake Ontario Starting Sunday Night
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed State agencies to prepare for strong winds in the Western New York, Finger Lakes and North Country regions that could result in power outages, property damage, and dangerous travel conditions. Winds are expected to gust up to 65 mph beginning Sunday afternoon and continuing into Monday morning, which may result in downed trees and power lines, making travel difficult at times, especially for high-profile vehicles. In addition, lakeshore flooding may occur in places along Lake Erie and Lake Ontario due to high winds and wave action Sunday night and into Monday morning.
New Yorkers should watch their local weather reports throughout the weekend and take steps now to ensure their families and property are protected. Residents on or near the shorelines should act now to protect property from wind damage and lakeshore erosion.
“With forecasts calling for strong winds to impact much of New York on Sunday, state agencies stand ready to support our local partners with any resources they may need and will remain in contact with utility companies throughout the weekend to ensure any power outages are addressed as quickly as possible, ” Governor Cuomo said. “New Yorkers should also be sure to take the precautions necessary for protecting themselves, their families and their property.”
Starting Sunday and continuing through Monday morning, winds will generally be out of the south at 15 to 30 mph with gusts as high as 65 mph in the Western New York Region, 50 mph in the Finger Lakes and North Country Regions, 45 mph in the Central New York Region, 40 mph in the Long Island Region, and 35 mph in the Mohawk Valley, Mid-Hudson, Southern Tier and Capital Regions. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and a half inch are possible statewide, while snow accumulation of up to an inch in the North Country and up to a half inch in the Mohawk Valley Region is possible. Sunday night, rain showers are likely statewide and snow showers are possible in the North Country, Western New York, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier, and Central New York Regions.
The National Weather Service has posted High Wind Warnings for several counties in Western New York and Lakeshore Flood Warnings for various locations. For a complete listing of weather watches, warnings, advisories and latest forecasts, visit the National Weather Service website.
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.
Department of Transportation
The Department of Transportation will be activating its Incident Command System and is prepared to respond with 3,473 supervisors and operators. Statewide assets are as follows:
- 1,567 large dump trucks
- 188 medium duty trucks
- 312 large loaders
- 21 graders
- 3 dozers
- 17 vacuum trucks with sewer jet
- 32 tracked excavators
- 48 wheeled excavators
- 15 tree crew bucket trucks
- 33 traffic signal trucks
- 75 chippers, 10″ (min) capacity
The Thruway Authority has 663 operators and supervisors prepared to respond to any wind 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.
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.
Department of Environmental Conservation
DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers, Forest Rangers, Emergency Management staff, and regional staff are on alert and monitoring the developing situation and actively patrolling areas and infrastructure likely to be impacted by severe weather. All available assets are positioned to assist with any emergency response.
Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
New York State Park Police and park personnel are on alert and closely monitoring weather conditions and impacts. Response equipment is being fueled, tested and prepared for storm response use. Park visitors should check parks.ny.gov or call their local park office for the latest updates regarding park hours, openings and closings.
Division of State Police
The New York State Police has instructed all Troopers to remain vigilant and closely monitor conditions for any problems. Additional personnel will be deployed to affected areas as needed. All four-wheel drive vehicles and all specialty vehicles are in-service.
Department of Public Service
New York’s utilities have approximately 5,500 workers available to engage in damage assessment, response and restoration efforts 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.
To prepare for potential power outages, New Yorkers should:
- Have a list of emergency numbers readily available.
- At home or at work, keep a battery-operated radio and flashlight on hand, as well as a supply of batteries. Keep an emergency supply of water, medications, and non-perishable foods handy. If you use medication that requires refrigeration, most can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem – check with your physician or pharmacist.
- Make sure you have alternative charging methods for your phone or any device that requires power. Charge cell phones and any battery-powered devices.
- If you have space in your refrigerator or freezer, consider filling plastic containers with water, leaving an inch of space inside each one – this will help keep food cold if the power goes out.
- If you have an electric garage door opener, locate the manual release level and learn how to operate it.
- Keep your car’s gas tank at least half-full; gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps. If you use your car to re-charge devices, do not keep the car running in a garage, partially enclosed space, or close to a home – this can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Plan to have an alternative cooking source, such as a camp stove or outdoor grill. Follow appropriate safety rules for its use outside the residence.
- If you are considering a generator for your home, consult an electrician or engineer before purchasing and installing.
- Have extra blankets, coats, hats, and gloves on hand to keep warm.
- If you have a computer, back up files and operating systems regularly. Turn off all computers, monitors, and other devices when they are not being used.
- If you rely on anything that is battery-operated or power dependent such as a medical device, determine a back-up plan. For example, if you have a telephone that requires electricity to work, plan for alternate communication such as a standard telephone handset, cell phone, or radio.
- Learn about emergency plans in your area, including the location of the closest cooling and warming shelters, by visiting your state’s or local website.
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.
- In intense heat, consider going to a movie theater, shopping mall or cooling shelter. If you remain at home, move to the lowest level – cool air falls. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing and drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty.
- 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.
- If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location, such as the home of a relative or friend, or a public facility that has heat.
For a complete list of weather terms and what to do before, during and after a power outage, visit the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services website at http://www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/safety-info/outage.