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State Preparations as Tropical Storm Isaias Begins Impacting NY

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today updated New Yorkers on the state's emergency response preparations as Tropical Storm Isaias begins impacting New York. Current projections show that the storm's track has shifted slightly to the west, increasing the threat of heavy rains and strong winds for the Mid-Hudson and Capital Regions. State agencies continue to closely monitor the storm's track and have strategically pre-deployed resources to the Capital, Mid-Hudson, New York City and Long Island Regions. New Yorkers should ensure their households are prepared for the storm and to continue monitoring local weather forecasts for the most up-to-date information.

 

"Tropical Storm Isaias has started moving through New York, bringing with it strong winds, torrential rain and the potential for flash flooding that can cause major disruptions, and I'm urging New Yorkers, particularly those directly in Isaias' path, to stay calm, be smart and avoid unnecessary travel," Governor Cuomo said. "Our emergency response team has been pre-deployed to the areas projected to be the hardest hit, and we are prepared to assist our local partners in keeping New Yorkers safe."

 

During the past 24 hours, the storm has shifted to the west and increased its speed moving northward. With that, expected rainfall totals on Long Island have decreased. However, localized areas in the interior of the state could still see up to six inches of rainfall with stronger winds. Tropical Storm warnings and Tornado watches are in effect for the lower Mid-Hudson, New York City and Long Island Regions. Forecasts are predicting that New Yorkers in these regions could experience wind speeds between 40 and 50 mph, with gusts reaching nearly 70 mph at the peak of the storm. Localized storm surges of up to two feet are also a possibility along the coastline. 

 

The National Weather Service has also issued a number of flash flood watches and wind advisories for areas throughout the northern Mid-Hudson, Southern Tier, Capital and North Country Regions. New Yorkers can view the complete listing of these notices, as well as access the latest forecasts, by visiting the National Weather Service website here.

 

Agency Preparations

 

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services' Emergency Operations Center remains activated due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will monitor weather conditions, coordinate state response operations and stay in contact with localities throughout the duration of the event. State Stockpiles are also prepared to deploy assets to localities to support any storm-related needs. This includes pumps, chainsaws, sandbags and bottled water. Additionally, the Division's Office of Fire Prevention and Control has pre-deployed its Swift Water Urban Search and Rescue teams to areas within the storm track to assist local first responders in the event support is needed. Teams are equipped with boats and high-axle vehicles.

 

Department of Transportation

The State Department of Transportation is prepared to respond with 3,517 supervisors and operators available statewide. All available rain/flood/wind response equipment is ready to deploy.  Statewide equipment numbers are as follows:

 

 

All affected residency locations will be staffed for 24/7 operation throughout the duration of priority response operations.  Mechanic support will be available 24/7 to keep response equipment operational. 

 

Flood/debris quick-response crews will be pre-staged in the Mid-Hudson and Long Island Regions overnight Tuesday to perform immediate response to any needs that arise. Additional crews will be called-in as needed to provide additional support.

 

Thruway Authority

The Thruway Authority has 647 operators and supervisors prepared to respond to any wind or flood 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.

 

Statewide equipment numbers are as follows:

 

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.

 

Metropolitan Transportation Authority

The MTA is taking all necessary precautions to protect its transportation network and deliver safe service. 

 

Across New York City Transit, the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and MTA Bridges and Tunnels, crews have assembled 1 million gallons of diesel fuel, 303,000 sandbags, 77,800 gallons of gasoline, 7,348 sheets of plywood, 884 chain saws, 671 portable generators, 422 barriers made of concrete or plastic, 264 pumps, 218 torches, 198 water suction and discharge hoses, 134 fans, 79 emergency response vehicles, 56 wrecker/tow trucks, 37 excavators, 33 variable message signs, 18 weather data collection stations and three debris-clearing trains. 

 

The MTA will also institute a ban on tandem trailers and empty tractor trailers on its bridges from noon to midnight on Tuesday.

 

Metro-North will go to a weekend schedule Tuesday, providing provide hourly service all day Tuesday, with service every two hours between Southeast and Wassaic on the Harlem Line and every three hours on the Danbury branch in Connecticut.

 

Customers should take precautions to travel safely during and after heavy rain and winds. This includes allowing for extra travel time, taking extra caution when walking on platforms and stairs, watching for slippery conditions and being mindful for overhead foliage or wires. 

 

All MTA agencies are working closely together, coordinating with local partners to develop precautionary change plans should service be impacted. 

 

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey 

The Port Authority urges motorists to use caution during the storm. Speed restrictions at the George Washington and Staten Island bridges may be in effect, as well as along roadways to and from the crossings. 

 

Travelers through the Port Authority's airports, terminals and bus station are encouraged to reach out to carriers and airlines directly for the latest information on delays, cancelations or rebookings. For the latest information about Port Authority facilities, please check social media, sign up for PA alerts or download one of the PA mobile apps. 

 

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, including swift water rescue teams and sawyers, are positioned to assist with any emergency response.

 

Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation

State Parks is monitoring the storm forecast, and regional staff are fueling and preparing UTVs/ATVs, generators, and wood chippers; identifying sawyer crews; clearing drainage structures of potential blockages, removing known hazardous limbs and trees, and pre-positioning sandbags by facilities with known flooding issues. Potential visitors are urged to visit https://parks.ny.gov/ for updates on any potential changes on facility operating hours stemming from the storm.

 

Utility crews from PSEG LI will be staging trucks and supplies at Bethpage State Park in the picnic area parking lot and near the clubhouse in anticipation of the storm. 

 

New York 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. Members of the State Police swift water rescue team will be deployed and staged for immediate response.  All four-wheel drive vehicles and all specialty vehicles, including boats and utility vehicles, are in-service.

 

Department of Public Service

New York's utilities have approximately 4,500 workers available to engage in damage assessment, response and restoration 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.  In addition, PSEG LI, Con Edison, Orange & Rockland and Central Hudson have secured more than 2,000 additional mutual aid line workers to support their response and restoration efforts due to the expected impacts from Tropical Storm Isaias. 

 

New York Power Authority

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) and the Canal Corporation are monitoring Tropical Storm Isaias. Staff are taking necessary precautionary measures to ensure continuity of operations. Operational impact to NYPA and Canals assets is not anticipated based on the current forecast, however, staff will continue to monitor updates from the National Weather Service and will coordinate with internal and external stakeholders.

 

Safety Tips

If traveling during heavy rain, please drive with care and keep these safety tips in mind: