Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today urged New Yorkers to be prepared for scattered to numerous thunderstorms throughout the state later today into Friday morning. The main threat from these storms will be torrential rainfall, which could cause isolated flash flooding. A few of the stronger storms may also produce gusty winds this afternoon. Urban street flooding, clogged storm drains, washed out culverts and washed out dirt road shoulders and roads are most susceptible to flash flooding.
“After a long stretch of extreme heat and humidity, we are now expecting strong storms across New York,” Governor Cuomo said. “The storms will be severe in some places and will move in quickly, so it’s important to pay attention to your local weather forecast and be prepared, especially if you have planned outdoor activities.”
Heat indices are expected to climb to 95 degrees today, leading to an increased risk for heat-related illness. Heat advisories remain for today through 8 p.m. in Albany, Clinton, Erie, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Genesee, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Livingston, Monroe, Montgomery, Niagara, Ontario, Orleans, Oswego, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, St. Lawrence, Washington, Warren, Wayne, and Yates counties. Heat advisories are also in effect through 9 p.m. in Cayuga, Columbia, Dutchess, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Seneca, Ulster, Westchester, and Yates counties, and New York City (New York, Bronx, Richmond, Kings and Queens counties). For a list of cooling centers, visit the New York State Department of Health website.
Thunderstorms are expected later this afternoon through early tomorrow morning, with a risk of gusty winds and locally intense rainfall. Isolated or localized flash flooding possible tonight in the Western New York, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Central New York, North Country, Mohawk Valley, Capital Region, Mid-Hudson, and New York City areas.
Widespread increased power usage may lead to isolated outages due to overloads. All New Yorkers are urged to conserve electrical use between the hours of 3 and 7 p.m. to avoid power outages resulting from overload. Residents in the affected areas should stay tuned to local media outlets for the latest weather forecast. For a complete listing of weather watches and warnings, visit the National Weather Service website.
Governor Cuomo recommended that residents have the following disaster supplies on hand in case the power goes out:
- 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
Governor Cuomo also provided the following safety tips for thunderstorms:
- Check the weather forecast before heading outdoors.
- If a storm is approaching, keep an AM/FM radio with you.
- Watch for signs of approaching storms, and postpone outdoor activities if storms are imminent.
- Check on neighbors who require special assistance: infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
- As the storm approaches, move to a sturdy building or car. Do not take shelter in small sheds, under isolated trees, or in convertible automobiles.
- Get to higher ground if flash flooding or flooding is possible. Do not attempt to drive to safety – most flash flooding deaths occur in automobiles.
- Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of lightning, or increasing wind, which may be signs of an approaching thunderstorm.
- Listen for the sound of thunder. Even when the sky looks blue and clear, be cautious – lightning can travel sideways for up to 10 miles. If you can hear thunder, go to a safe shelter immediately.
- If you see lightning or hear thunder, or if you observe dark clouds, postpone activities promptly. Don’t wait for rain – lightning often strikes as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall. Go quickly inside a completely enclosed building. If no enclosed building is convenient, get inside a hard-topped all-metal vehicle.
- Lightning hits the tallest object, so be at the lowest point possible. In mountainous areas, if you are above the tree line, quickly get below it and get into a grove of small trees. Crouch down if you are in an exposed area. Don’t be the second tallest object during a lightning storm.
- If you can’t get to a shelter, stay away from trees. If there is no shelter, crouch in the open, keeping twice as far away from a tree as it is tall.
- Get off bicycles and motorcycles, and avoid leaning against vehicles.
- Get out of the water, off the beach, and out of small boats or canoes. If you are caught in a boat, crouch down in the center of the boat away from metal hardware. Avoid standing in puddles of water, even if wearing rubber boots.
At the Governor’s direction, New York State has recently improved the NY-Alert emergency notification system. The new NY-Alert system provides a more convenient way for New Yorkers to sign up for customized alerts on critical topics such as weather, traffic, missing persons and more. The new system is now hosted on a cloud-based platform to meet growing demand and serve New Yorkers better. To stay on top of the latest information, New Yorkers should visit the newly designed website, https://alert.ny.gov, to sign up for the alerts they would like to receive.
For a complete list of weather terms and safety tips for all hazards, visit the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services website at www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/safety-info/index.cfm.