Gov. Kathy Hochul today urged New Yorkers to prepare for strong and severe thunderstorms expected to hit most of the state Thursday afternoon and continue throughout the evening.
“We are keeping a close eye on today’s forecast as severe storms could hit much of the state through tonight, with reports of a brief tornado moving through Wyoming County.” said Governor Hochul. “I urge New Yorkers to heed their local forecasts and sign up for emergency alerts so they can take steps to protect themselves from severe weather.”
The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center has placed much of the state under heavy thunderstorm watch through 8 p.m. These storms can bring damaging winds strong enough to down trees and power lines — causing outages, hail up to and potentially more than an inch in diameter, and heavy rain that can cause isolated flash floods.
State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said: “New Yorkers should be prepared for severe weather affecting most of the state by tonight. DHSES is currently monitoring weather conditions across the state and communicating with our local government partners to ensure they are prepared for storm-related impacts. Governor Hochul and I urge everyone to stay updated today, sign up for alerts and follow your local forecast as conditions may change throughout the day.”
For a complete list of weather alerts and forecasts, visit the National Weather Service website at https://alerts.weather.gov. New Yorkers are also encouraged to sign up for emergency alerts by subscribing to NY Alert at https://alert.ny.gov, a free service that provides important emergency information via text/call/email.
Storm safety tips
- Know the county you live in and the names of nearby cities. Severe weather warnings are issued nationwide.
- Learn the safest route from your home or business to high, safe ground when you’re in a hurry.
- Develop and practice a “Family Escape Plan” and designate a meeting point if family members are separated.
- Make a detailed list of all valuables, including furnishings, clothing, and other personal items. Keep the list in a safe place.
- Stock up on emergency supplies of canned goods, medicines and first aid supplies, as well as 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 gear ready.
- Leave your vehicle refueled or charged. If power is lost, gas 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 ready, 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
- Check book, cash, credit cards, ATM cards
- If a tornado warning is issued outdoors, seek shelter immediately. If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in a ditch or low spot and cover your head with your hands.
- If you are at home or in a small building, go to the basement or an indoor space on the bottom floor of the building. Stay away from windows. Closets, bathrooms and other interior spaces offer the best protection. Lie down under something sturdy or cover yourself with a mattress.
- If you are in a school, hospital or mall, go to a pre-determined safe area. Stay away from large open areas and windows. Don’t go outside to your car.
- If you are in a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor. Don’t use elevators – use stairs instead.
- Never attempt to drive on a flooded road. Turn around and go another way.
- If the water around you starts to rise rapidly in your car, get out of the vehicle immediately.
- Don’t underestimate the power of fast moving water. Flood water moving two feet fast floats your car, and water moving at two miles per hour can knock cars off a road or bridge.
- Follow the 30-30 rule: if the time between seeing lightning and thunder is 30 seconds or less, lightning is close enough to strike you. Seek shelter immediately. After the last flash, wait 30 minutes before exiting your shelter.
- Lightning hits the tallest object. If you’re above a tree line, quickly go under it and crouch if you’re in an exposed area.
- If you can’t reach a shelter, stay away from trees. If there is no shelter, crouch outdoors and stand twice as far from a tree as it is tall.
For more safety tips, visit the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Safety Tips website at www.dhses.ny.gov/safety.