Governor Hochul Directs State Agencies to Prepare Emergency Response Assets as Tropical Depression Ida Is Expected to Impact New York State with Heavy Rains and Possible Flooding

Alison Rombough

Governor Kathy Hochul today directed state agencies to prepare emergency response assets as the remnants of Hurricane Ida are expected to blanket downstate areas with six or more inches of rain starting today and continuing through Thursday, potentially causing flash flooding and dangerous travel conditions in several locations. New York City, Long Island, and areas in […]

Governor Kathy Hochul today directed state agencies to prepare emergency response assets as the remnants of Hurricane Ida are expected to blanket downstate areas with six or more inches of rain starting today and continuing through Thursday, potentially causing flash flooding and dangerous travel conditions in several locations. New York City, Long Island, and areas in the Southern Tier, Mid-Hudson Valley and Capital District could see up to six inches of rain, with locally higher amounts, as Ida passes through the area. There is also the potential for strong thunderstorms with gusty winds through early Thursday, as well as the threat of an isolated tornado, especially for downstate areas. Ida is expected to move quickly to the northeast with rainfall ending across eastern portions of the state by late Thursday. Governor Hochul urged New Yorkers to closely monitor local forecasts for weather conditions and follow potential emergency orders issued before or during any storms.  New York State agencies and authorities have engaged local municipalities and partners and stand at the ready to respond as needed.   

“The remnants of Hurricane Ida are forecast to impact downstate and eastern parts of the state, including New York City, Long Island, and parts of the Southern Tier, Mid-Hudson Valley and Capital regions, with heavy rain and potential flash flooding through Thursday,” Governor Hochul said. “Although we don’t expect to receive the much heavier rains or tropical-force winds that impacted states like Louisiana and Mississippi, we may see close to six inches of rain in some parts of New York as Tropical Depression Ida continues to move northeast. I am urging people in areas forecast for heavy rains to prepare for flooding conditions and stay safe. If you need to travel, please use caution and check local weather conditions first.”

According to the National Weather Service, the remnants of Ida as a post-Tropical low are expected to approach the state starting Wednesday, bringing heavy rainfall that will continue through Thursday afternoon. A widespread three to six inches of rain is forecast for downstate areas with locally higher amounts, which will likely lead to flash flooding, especially for areas near rivers and streams. Upstate areas could receive up to three inches of rain by Thursday.

Flash flood watches have been issued through Thursday afternoon for multiple locations across the state. For a complete listing of weather advisories, watches, and warnings in your area, visit the National Weather Service website.

Agency Preparations

Department of Transportation 

The State Department of Transportation is prepared to respond with more than 3,150 supervisors and operators available statewide. Staff can be configured into any type of response crew that is needed (flood, chipper, load and haul, sewer jet, cut and toss, traffic signal, etc.). The DOT’s 24/7 Incident Command System will be activatedfor response management throughout the event.

Currently, regional crews are engaged in rain, flood and tree debris response preparations, including:

  • Drainage inlets, culverts and other drainage structures are being inspected and cleared of accumulated debris. Inspections will continue throughout the event.
  • Routine patrols will be conducted to maintain awareness of general conditions.
  • Flood/debris response tools (generators, pumps, chainsaws, light plants, chippers, grapples, hand tools, etc.) are being readied for immediate dispatch.

All available rain/flood/wind response equipment is ready to deploy. Statewide equipment numbers are as follows:

  • 1,326 large dump trucks
  • 51 loader-grapple attachments
  • 299 loaders
  • 18 vacuum trucks w/sewer jet
  • 33 tracked excavators
  • 43 wheeled excavators
  • 52 tractor trailers w/ lowboy trailer
  • 14 tree crew bucket trucks
  • 36 traffic signal trucks
  • 6 water pumps (4-6 inch)
  • 77 chippers 10″ (min) capacity
  • 50 generators

Thruway Authority 

The Thruway Authority has 655 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:

  • 212 Large Dump Trucks
  • 102 Small Dump Trucks
  • 62 Loaders
  • 28 Trailers
  • 8 Vac Trucks
  • 9 Tracked Excavators
  • 9 Wheeled Excavators
  • 10 Brush Chippers
  • 100 Chainsaws
  • 24 Aerial Trucks
  • 22 Skid Steers
  • 87 Portable Generators
  • 69 Portable Light Units

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 live traffic cameras, real-time traffic information 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, follow @ThruwayTraffic on Twitter, and visit 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, including swiftwater rescue teams, 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. Park visitors should check parks.ny.gov or call their local park office for the latest updates regarding park hours, openings and closings.

Department of Public Service 

New York’s utilities have approximately 5,500 workers available to engage in damage assessment, response, and restoration efforts across the state. Department of Public Service staff will track the utilities’ work throughout the storm event and will ensure utilities shift the appropriate staffing to the regions anticipated to be impacted the most.

New York State Police 

State Police will have two 12-person swiftwater rescue teams with boats ready for deployment, with one team staged in Ulster County and another in Broome County. Troopers will closely monitor conditions and additional personnel will be assigned to affected areas as needed. All four-wheel drive vehicles and specialty vehicles, including Utility Terrain Vehicles, are in service.

New York Power Authority | New York State Canal Corporation 

The New York Power Authority and New York State Canal Corporation are taking proactive steps to prepare for the arrival of Tropical Depression Ida, forecasted to bring heavy rain and potential flash flooding. NYPA’s operations staff have performed storm preparation procedures, inspected and tested equipment, and staff are positioned to continue to ready facilities and transmission infrastructure for storm response. NYPA and Canals representatives are in close contact with state, county and local emergency management officials for coordination purposes and will continue communications throughout the duration of the weather event. NYPA is also participating in mutual assistance planning calls for storm response in Louisiana related to this storm and stands at the ready to send NYPA transmission and other personnel if needed.

Canal Corporation 

In preparation for the arrival of Tropical Depression Ida, the Canal Corporation preemptively lifted the upper gates of its movable dams along the Erie Canal and Mohawk River between Lock E-8 in Rotterdam and Lock E-12 in Tribes Hill. Lifting the upper gates of the movable dams lowered water levels and is a necessary action to help mitigate the risk of potential flooding and damage to Canal assets. The Canal Corporation worked with marinas, vessel owners, dock owners, and others to notify them of the potential risk for damage from lowered water levels and expected weather. The Canal Corporation will update the public as needed through Notice to Mariners alerts. Members of the public may sign-up to receive these notices here . 

Metropolitan Transportation Authority 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is taking all necessary precautions to protect its transportation network and deliver safe service. MTA agencies are working closely together, coordinating with local partners to develop plans should service be impacted. The MTA is prepositioning essential backup equipment across commuter railroads, subways, and agency’s bridges and tunnels. On the subway, maintenance personnel will inspect track drains in flood-prone areas and stage track pumps and storm boxes.

The MTA encourages customers to take extra precautions when traveling during heavy rain and strong 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 that may have fallen.

Port Authority 

The Port Authority continues to monitor weather conditions across all its facilities. Passengers are advised to contact their carriers regarding flight status before heading to either LaGuardia or John F. Kennedy Airport, as airlines anticipate potential delays and possible cancellations due to the weather. Speed restrictions and potential truck and motorcycle bans will be imposed at Port Authority crossings if conditions such as high winds warrant. For the latest information on all Port Authority facilities, please check social media, sign up for PA alerts or download one of the PA mobile apps.

Safety Tips

Prepare for 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.

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

For more safety tips, visit the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Safety Tips web page at www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/safety-info/index.cfm.

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