Western New York (WKBW) - Governor Andrew Cuomo today urged New Yorkers to be prepared as severe thunderstorms storms pass through the state tomorrow. The storms are forecasted to bring heavy rain, high winds, and possible tornadoes, and may cause widespread power outages.
The National Weather Service today briefed state officials on the approaching storms and declared a Moderate Risk of Severe Weather for New York State. The prediction includes the possibility of high winds and possible tornadoes. At the Governor's direction, the State Emergency Operations Center will be activated tomorrow at 1:00 PM. As weather conditions can change rapidly, the Governor today urged New Yorkers to pay close attention to local radio and television reports to stay up to date with the storms' progress.
“I urge all New Yorkers to take caution and pay attention to local radio and television reports for the latest information on the progress of these summer storms," Governor Cuomo said. "Proper precautions undertaken now can help ensure that the strong winds and heavy rain cause as little damage as possible and that families and individuals are kept safe from harm."
New York State Office of Emergency Management Director Steven Kuhr said, "Families and individuals should have an emergency kit and an emergency plan in place. Your emergency kit should include items such as non-perishable food, water, a portable radio, flashlights and extra batteries. Pay attention to Emergency Alert System (EAS) messages that carry local information and emergency orders, such as evacuation or travel restrictions. If emergency orders are issued, do not hesitate – take immediate action."
The Governor offered the following tips as the storm approaches:
Before the storm hits:
· Tie down or bring inside lawn furniture, trash cans, tools and hanging plants that could be projectiles during the storm.
· If you have a basement, check sump pumps to ensure they are operating and be prepared to use a backup system.
· Have a standby generator or alternative source of power available.
· Check on neighbors, especially the elderly and disabled.
As the storm approaches:
· Stay inside, away from windows and glass doors.
· Charge your cellphones and important electronic devices
· Stay off roads. If you are traveling, find safe shelter immediately.
If you must travel:
· Do not attempt to drive over flooded roads – turn around and go another way. Water moving at two miles per hour can sweep cars off a road or bridge.
· Watch for areas where rivers or streams may suddenly rise and flood, such as highway dips, bridges, and low areas.
· If you are in your car and water begins to rise rapidly around you, abandon the vehicle immediately.
If you are at home or at work:
· Stay at home unless you have been ordered to leave.
· Turn refrigerator to maximum cold and open only when necessary.
· Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities.
· Turn off propane tanks.
· Unplug major appliances.
· Fill large containers with water.
If winds become strong:
· Stay away from windows and doors even if they are covered.
· Close all interior doors.
· Secure and brace external doors.
· If you are in a two or multiple-story house, go to an interior lower-floor room.
· Remain indoors during a severe thunder storm. If warned of a tornado, go to a basement or other low area in your home or business or in a room with no windows.
If you lose electrical service:
· Call your utility first to determine area repair schedules. Turn off or unplug lights and appliances to prevent a circuit overload when service is restored. Leave one light on to indicate power has been restored.
· Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to help reduce food spoilage.
· If you have space in your refrigerator or freezer, fill plastic containers with water, leaving an inch of space inside each one. This will help keep food cold.
If you need to use a generator:
· Before installing a generator, be sure to properly disconnect from your utility electrical service. If possible, have your generator installed by a qualified electrician.
· Run generators outside, downwind of structures. Never run a generator indoors. Deadly carbon monoxide gas from the generator's exhaust can spread throughout enclosed spaces.
· Fuel spilled on a hot generator can cause an explosion. If your generator has a detachable fuel tank remove it before refilling. If this is not possible, shut off the generator and let it cool before refilling.
· Do not exceed the rated capacity of your generator. Most small, home-use portable generators produce 350 to 12,000 watts of power. Overloading your generator can damage it and appliances connected to it, and may cause a fire. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.
· Keep children away from generators at all times.
Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning:
· Do not operate generators indoors; the motor emits deadly carbon monoxide gas.
· Do not use charcoal to cook indoors. It, too, can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide gas.
· Do not use your gas oven to heat your home -- prolonged use of an open oven in a closed house can create carbon monoxide gas.
· Install a carbon monoxide alarm.
The best way to receive emergency information is to subscribe to NY-ALERT, the State’s alert and notification system. Visit www.nyalert.gov.
For more information on how to best prepare, visit: http://www.nyprepare.gov.