Even as New York and New Jersey continue to recover from Hurricane Sandy, yesterday Andrew Governor Cuomo has proclaimed this week, May 26 to Jun1, “Hurricane Preparedness Week.”
New York has experienced 84 tropical or subtropical cyclones since records have been kept. . The strongest of these storms was the 1938 New England Hurricane, named the “Long Island Express” which struck Long Island as a Category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. That storm killed more than 600 people, and was also the deadliest. hurricane to have affected the state. Hurricanes hit NY primarily in September but have also hit during every month of the hurricane season, June through November.
Hurricanes rarely make landfall on the state, although it is common for remnants of the storms, often downgraded to tropical storms or tropical depressions to produce heavy rainfall and flooding.
“Severe weather associated with hurricanes can also have a disastrous effect on inland areas of the state,” Jerome M. Hauer, Commissioner of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services said. “There are some simple measures that citizens can take to be prepared, such as having emergencies supplies on hand including flashlights, batteries, water and canned goods. Don’t wait until the storm warnings are posted.”
The NY Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) advises NY residents to take the following precautions before the start of the official hurricane season:
- Develop or review a household disaster plan. 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 point, some familiar location where the family can meet in the event the home is inaccessible.
- 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.
- Know the hurricane / storm risks in their areas, and learn the storm surge history and area’s elevation.
- Learn their community’s warning signals and evacuation plans.
- Learn safe routes inland.
- Learn the location of official shelters.
- Make arrangements on where to relocate pets during a storm because most shelters will not allow pets.
- Ensure that enough non-perishable food and water supplies are on hand (approximately 10 days). Make sure battery-operated radios and flashlights are available and have an ample supply of batteries. Have a first aid kit available and make sure there is an ample supply of medicines on hand for those who require it.
- Store important documents – insurance policies, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc. – in a waterproof container. Also have cash, checkbook, credit and ATM cards readily available.
- Obtain and store materials, such as plywood, necessary to properly secure your home.
- Know how to turn off the power, heat and water at home.
- Repair loose and clear clogged rain gutters and down spouts.
- Secure or bring inside lawn furniture and other loose, lightweight objects such as garbage cans and garden tools that could become projectiles in high winds. Also keep trees and shrubbery trimmed of dead wood.
- Review insurance policies to determine extent of coverage before a storm strikes.
- Determine where to move boats in an emergency.
- Be aware of local weather conditions by listening to National Weather Service broadcasts on NOAA Weather Radio and reports from local television and radio stations.
It will be too late once the storm hits to start preparing. The key to successfully taking care of yourself, your family and your property during an emergecny is through early preparation.
Hurricanes and their effects have been known to devastate communities hundreds of miles inland. Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm struck Coney Island on Aug 27, 2011 and caused massive damage far away from the coast.
Hurricane Irene caused severe flooding in upstate NY, with the Mohawk River rising 3.2 feet above flood stage in Schenectady. Schenectady County Community College was severely flooded, causing upwards of $1 million in damage. Parts of Greene, Schoharie, and Delaware Counties were nearly unreachable. For the first time ever, the National Weather Service issued a Tropical Storm Warning in Albany.
For more information, visit the NY DHSES website.