New York Governor Directs State Agencies to Prepare for Flooding
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Thursday directed state agencies to prepare for flooding issues throughout the state and urged all New Yorkers to take actions to ensure that they are ready for heavy rains, which will continue through Friday. Rain will be heavy at times, and the combination of snowmelt and heavy rainfall could cause moderate flooding to already swollen rivers and streams, low lying areas, urban areas, and areas with poor drainage. In Western New York, some areas could see one to five inches of snow in the higher elevations as the system moves through the state.
“With heavy rain in the forecast, I am directing state agencies to prepare for potential flooding and I urge New Yorkers to exercise caution and stay safe,” Governor Cuomo said. “New Yorkers should be ready for the possibility of hazardous travel conditions and state agencies will be on alert and be prepared to assist communities across the state if the need arises.”
Governor Cuomo has directed the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Office of Emergency Management and Office of Fire Prevention and Control, the Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State Police, New York State Parks, and other state agencies to prepare staff, assets and stockpiles to support response efforts that may arise during the current flood watches and warnings across the state. The State Watch Center and Emergency Operations Center began to operate in enhanced monitoring at 8 a.m. Thursday.
The State’s nine regional stockpiles are each prepared with a sandbagging machine, generators, pumps and hoses and there are over 768,000 fillable sandbags state-wide. The Division’s swift water rescue teams: New York Task Force-2, Urban Search and Rescue Teams, boats, and high axle vehicles are prepared for deployment. Additionally, 20,000 sandbags and a sandbagging machine have already been deployed to Oneida County, to be shared with Herkimer County, as a precautionary measure.
All State Police assets, including 4x4s, high axle vehicles and boats are ready for deployment. Four airboats and four Zodiac boats have been paired regionally with swift water trained rescue diving teams throughout the state. Troopers have been instructed to remain on high alert and to closely monitor flood prone areas for rising waters while on patrol.
The Department of Environmental Conservation is closely monitoring the weather and has plans and personnel in place for potential flooding. DEC has emergency vehicles and equipment, including 4×4 vehicles, Utility Task Vehicles, boats, and other flood-related equipment prepped and ready to be deployed as needed across the state as needed.
In preparation for severe weather and flooding New York State Parks has alerted park police and park personnel to closely monitor weather updates and storm preparation efforts. New York State Parks has begun assessing and lowering lake levels, clearing culverts and preparing necessary equipment. Park patrons should monitor www.nysparks.com or call their local park office for the latest updates regarding park hours, openings and closings
The New York State Department of Transportation is actively preparing for high water by readying equipment and staff who will conduct flood watches, monitor bridges as water rises, and respond as needed. DOT crews have been actively working to clear culverts and drainage basins to help ensure they flow freely. The NYSDOT has 3,845 operators and supervisors statewide and is ready to respond with 1,463 large dump trucks, 322 loaders, 73 excavators, 21 graders, 12 bucket trucks, 17 vacuum trucks with sewer jets, five trailer mounted sewer jets, 12 water tankers, 13 water pumps, and 4 bulldozers.
The New York Power Authority, in consultation with the New York State Canal Corporation and Brookfield Renewable Partners, has been preemptively increasing water discharges from the Hinckley Reservoir into West Canada Creek to allow more room in the reservoir for expected additional rainfall. NYPA proactively monitors water levels and continues to discharge water until it is determined that the peak of the flood is approaching. If this happens, NYPA will shut off discharges to hold back water, thereby reducing and delaying peak flows that come over the spillway as much as possible. NYPA operates the Gregory B. Jarvis hydroelectric power plant on the north side of the reservoir.
Flood Watches and Warnings are in effect for most of the entire state.