“As we prepare for the possibility of Sandy hitting New York State, I am activating all levels of state government to prepare for any potential impacts,” Governor Cuomo said. “We are working with federal and local partners to follow storm developments and organize a coordinated response plan. With unpredictable weather conditions, we are taking the greatest precautions – especially after our experience from last year’s storms. I urge New Yorkers to plan for hurricane conditions and follow news reports to stay updated on the storm’s progress.”
Governor Cuomo has asked President Obama for a pre-landfall disaster declaration. This would allow for State access to funds and FEMA resources to prepare.
He's also overseeing state mobilization, including:
The Thruway Authority, which is carefully monitoring the progress of Sandy to ensure that the agency is ready to handle any potential impacts to their system. The agency has inspected drainage systems and culverts to ensure that they are functioning properly and not blocked, prepared and tested equipment that may be needed for storm response, and mobilized staff for deployment as needed. As usual, the agency’s Statewide Operations Center functions around the clock to monitor conditions throughout its 570-mile highway system.
· Administration officials conducted a conference call earlier today with the Chief Executive Officers of all the public utilities and the Public Service Commission to plan for storm preparations, recovery and response. Approximately 2700 utility workers are on alert to assist in storm preparation around the state. Additional crews will be deployed for post-storm recovery.
· New York Power Authority (NYPA): The water level of the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project’s lower reservoir on the Schoharie Creek has been lowered to the minimum depth as a precaution against flood conditions. NYPA has also released water to lower the level of the Hinckley Reservoir where it operates a small-hydro facility to create additional storage capacity.
· The Canal Corporation has implemented a plan to lower water levels in the Mohawk River sections of the Erie Canal between Fort Plain and Schenectady in order to increase the rainwater storage capacity for potential rainfall associated with Hurricane Sandy. The Canal Corporation is working with marinas, contractors, and commercial and recreational vessels on the Canal System to clear vessels from these impacted areas, and will begin lowering these levels by approximately three to five feet on Saturday, October 27. If the projected track of Hurricane Sandy suggests severe impacts to the Mohawk River Basin, the Canal Corporation will further reduce these levels to their lowest winter points, beginning on Sunday, October 28. In addition, to help create more rainwater storage capacity mitigate the impact of any potential flooding associated with Hurricane Sandy, the Canal Corporation began lowering the level of Hinckley Reservoir near Utica on Thursday, October 25.
· The Hudson River – Black River Regulating District is preparing to store rainfall in response to potential significant inflow to the Great Sacandaga Lake and Indian Lake reservoirs in the Hudson River watershed and to the Stillwater, Sixth Lake, and Old Forge Reservoir in the Black River watershed. After the storm, and after any river flooding conditions have subsided, the Regulating District will maximize the release of water from each reservoir in a reasonable and prudent manner to lower water elevation in each reservoir as quickly as possible.
· The Lake George Park Commission, which oversees the lake level of Lake George and ensures that the operator of the outlet dam in Ticonderoga (LaChute Hydro) operates within the “rule curve” to ensure the welfare of the public and infrastructure and power generation. The commission is coordinating with LaChute Hydro on the operation of the penstock and waste gates which control lake levels and has recommended immediate maximum drawdown from the current level to allow capacity.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
· The New York State Police has implemented internal agency disaster preparedness plans for Hurricane Sandy. Troop personnel remain ready for assignment to county and local Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) as needed. Personnel in each troop have been pre-identified to be available for deployment to hardest hit areas of the state if necessary. All emergency power and communications equipment has been tested. Specialized resources including boats, aircraft, and four wheel drive vehicles are staged for deployment.
The actual strength of the hurricane will depend on its course up the east coast of the United States. Parts of the state that are adjacent to coastal waters, such as Long Island and New York City, are considered most at risk. Inland locations can also be affected by heavy rainfall and strong winds, which can cause flooding and power outages.
Governor Cuomo urges New Yorkers to take stock of their emergency supplies, such as water, non-perishable food, radios, batteries, supplies for any pets, and first aid kits. The Governor also encourages New Yorkers to check in with neighbors, especially the elderly or disabled, who might need assistance to ensure that their needs are met if emergency instructions are issued.
The Department of Health also issued the following tips for New Yorkers in preparation of the storm:
o Have plenty of non-perishable food and water supplies on hand. Make sure battery-operated radios and flashlights are available and have an ample supply of batteries. Hand-cranked flashlights and radios that do not need batteries may also be useful. Have a first aid kit available and make sure there is adequate supply of medicines on hand for those who require it.
o Know how to contact all family members at all times. Identify an out-of-town friend or family member to be the “emergency family contact.” Then make certain all family members have that number. Designate a family emergency meeting place where the family can meet in case you can’t go home.
o Pay particular attention to relatives with special needs, small children and pets. Know where to relocate pets during a storm because many shelters are not able to accept pets. Shelters often only accept “service animals” that assist people with disabilities.
o Prepare an emergency phone list of people and organizations that may need to be called. Include children’s schools, doctors, child/senior care providers, and insurance agents.
o Follow the news and emergency broadcasts of local radio and television stations that will provide up-to-date official information during a storm emergency, including recommendations to evacuate specific areas.
o Find out what emergency plans are in place in your community and how you will be notified in the event of an emergency.
o Know the hurricane risks in your area and learn the storm surge history and elevation of your area.
o Store important documents such as insurance policies, medical records, bank account numbers, and social security cards in waterproof containers. Also have cash (in small bills), a checkbook, and credit/ATM cards readily available.