Governor Hochul Directs State Agencies to Prepare Flood Response Assets in Western New York Ahead of Potential Flooding Due to Snowmelt from Unseasonably Warm Temperatures
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced additional support for Western New York as part of the state’s ongoing response to the deadly winter storm that brought high winds, full-on whiteout conditions and more than four feet of heavy, wet snow over the weekend. holidays. The state’s response to the storm continues this week and, as of Wednesday, Governor Hochul has deployed a total of 611 National Guard soldiers to the western New York region. Service members are divided into three-person teams, conducting door-to-door well-being visits to homes that lost power and called 911 during the event. In total, more than 170,000 power outages were reported in western New York and the city of Buffalo throughout the storm. While bands of lake-effect snow are no longer a threat to the region, Gov. Hochul directed state agencies Wednesday to prepare flood response tools as flooding is possible later this week in the Buffalo area as temperatures rise and snow begins to fall. it melts.
“As we turn the corner on this historic winter storm, New York State is continuing to stay prepared for potentially dangerous flood conditions.” Governor Hochul said. “Our state agency personnel and local emergency responders have been coordinating throughout the storm, and we will continue to do everything we can to protect Western New Yorkers and help our communities recover.”
The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES), Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (Parks) are coordinating with each other and contacting local municipalities. regarding locations that may need help with flooding concerns later in the week as temperatures rise. Although bands of lake-effect snow have largely subsided across the state, temperatures are expected to gradually rise throughout the week with most regions of the state seeing temperatures in the low 50s by Friday and throughout the weekend. Flooding is possible later in the week and this weekend as snow melts and ice jams break up. Vulnerable sites include creeks, streams and low-lying, poorly drained areas.
DEC is working closely with state and local agencies to coordinate flood mitigation equipment including pumps and sandbags in case mitigation is needed to protect homes, businesses or infrastructure from flooding or overflowing waterways. This is in addition to ongoing coordination by multiple state agencies and authorities with local governments and law enforcement in the region to help free stranded vehicles and clear homes and major roads, among other emergency response actions. the storm. Other state agencies supporting these efforts include the Office of General Services, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and the Department of Transportation. Additional resources will continue to be used as needed.
To support these operations, the following resources are available for deployment from state reserves in Erie and Monroe counties:
- 185 two-inch pumps
- 91 three-inch pumps
- 44 four-inch pumps
- 14 six-inch pumps
- 312 Generators
- 4 sandbags
- More than 775,000 sandbags
Homeland Security and Emergency Services Division Commissioner Jackie Bray said, “Governor Hochul is committed to helping Western New Yorkers recover from this devastating storm, and our response continues this week on the ground in Buffalo. Temperatures will rise later this week and, after more than four feet of snow, we expect some flooding for sensitive areas in the region. We are working with our agency partners and Erie County to ensure local emergency managers have the resources they need this week to keep everyone safe.”
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “DEC continues to provide assistance and support to help communities affected by last weekend’s extreme winter weather, and I commend all state and local responders who have stepped up to help New Yorkers during this unprecedented storm. With temperatures expected to rise in the coming days, DEC Staff will monitor for local flooding and continue to coordinate with partners to distribute essential supplies as we work with Governor Hochul, DHSES, State Parks and other state and local emergency responders to assist in the recovery of the Buffalo area.”
State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “State Parks is following up on our initial snow machine and manpower response by coordinating with DEC to help mitigate flood damage in the region. Our Park Police will work closely with state and local officials, while other members of OPRHP will help transport bedding, meals and bottled water to the community, supporting the steps already taken by Governor Hochul.”
Flood safety tips
- Learn the safest route from your home or business to high, safe ground if you need to leave in a hurry.
- Develop and practice a ‘family getaway’ plan and identify a meeting place if family members get separated.
- Make a detailed list – as well as potential photographic and video documentation – of all valuables, including furniture, clothing and other personal property. Keep the list in a safe place.
- Gather 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, flashlight, extra batteries and emergency cooking equipment available.
- Keep your vehicle fueled or charged. If the power goes out, gas stations may not be able to pump fuel for several days. Have a small disaster supply kit in the trunk of your car.
- Find out how many feet your property is above and below potential flood levels. When forecast flood levels are broadcast, you can determine whether you may be flooded.
- Keep materials such as sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber available for emergency waterproofing.
For a complete list of weather conditions and preparedness measures before, during, and after a flood, visit the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services website at https://www.dhses.ny.gov/flood-safety-tips.