GOVERNOR CUOMO DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY IN NEW YORK IN PREPARATION FOR POTENTIAL IMPACT OF HURRICANE SANDY
Hurricane Sandy May Hit New York State this Weekend
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today declared a state of emergency in New York in preparation for the potential impact of Hurricane Sandy, which may hit New York State in the coming days. A state of emergency mobilizes resources to local governments that otherwise are restricted to state use only and suspends regulations that would impede rapid response.
The Governor is continuing to coordinate statewide preparation for the storm and has ordered the state's Emergency Operations Center in Albany to operate twenty-four hours a day. At the Governor's direction, state agencies and local governments are planning cooperative response efforts. Governor Cuomo and his administration have been in contact with local officials to coordinate preparation. The state government is communicating with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service to discuss the potential tracks of the storm.
"As we prepare for the possibility of Hurricane 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.
Due to the impending storm, the Governor's conference on Emergency Preparedness scheduled for October 29-30 in Albany is being postponed.
Governor Cuomo is overseeing state mobilization in preparation for the potential storm, including:
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is monitoring the progress of Hurricane Sandy and taking necessary precautions to protect its transportation network. The storm is tracking toward New York and holds the potential for high winds and heavy rain that could make it unsafe to operate subway, bus and railroad lines, as well as to allow vehicles on the MTA's seven bridges and two tunnels. The MTA Hurricane Plan calls for an orderly shutdown of transit and train service before the arrival of sustained winds of 39 mph or higher. No decision has been made whether to suspend some or all service in advance of the storm, but ample notice will be provided of any suspension. Customers and the media should monitor the mta.info website, which is updated continuously with service information as it becomes available. Customers can also call 511 for service information.
o New York City Transit/Metro-North Railroad/Long Island Rail Road: Crews are working throughout all three transit systems to inspect and clear drains, pump rooms, ditches, swales, as well as flood-prone areas that will be continually monitored. Equipment like emergency response vehicles, cranes, excavators, back hoes, chain saws, generators, and pumps are checked, fueled, and ready for use - particularly in known low spots. Other actions include securing work sites against possible high winds, fueling equipment, stocking supplies and making plans to move trains, buses, equipment and supplies away from low-lying areas. Extra personnel will be assigned to report for duty before the storm is expected to make landfall.
oBridges and Tunnels: All roadway and drainage systems at Bridges and Tunnels facilities are being checked and cleared of debris. Wrecker trucks and other response vehicles are readied to help motorists who may become stranded. Motorists are advised to reduce speeds when winds are between 40 and 49 mph in dry conditions, and 30 to 49 mph in windy and wet conditions. When the winds are 50 mph or more in dry or wet conditions, certain vehicles will be barred from using MTA crossings. These include motorcycles, tractor trailers, step vans, mini buses, trucks with open backs, cars pulling trailers, motor homes and vehicles carrying plate glass. If there are sustained winds of 60 mph or above, the MTA may close one or more bridges to all traffic.
oCapital Construction: All construction work has been suspended until further notice on East Side Access, the Second Avenue Subway, the 7 Line Extension and Fulton Center.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is making preparations to have a full complement of staff at all of its transportation facilities to ensure that the hundreds of thousands of customers who use them each day can be safely accommodated during this severe weather event. The agency also will activate its emergency management office to monitor the changing weather conditions and coordinate with the governor's offices in New York and New Jersey, the New York City mayor's office, other external stakeholders and the Federal Aviation Administration, which controls air traffic.
oAt the Port Authority's five airports, officials have begun taking precautions including securing any outdoor loose materials and notifying tenants and lessees to do the same; checking and clearing all storm drains and roadway gutters; servicing and fueling all vehicles, generators and pumps; preparing and placing sand bags and preparing traffic control equipment such as cones and barrels. As the storm approaches, the Port Authority strongly advises airline passengers to check with their carriers on the status of their flight.
o Workers in the agency's Tunnels, Bridges and Terminals Department are reviewing high wind procedures and readying for potential traffic restrictions or closings.
o At the Port Authority Bus Terminal, staff is coordinating with all of the terminal's bus carriers to determine their service plans in the coming days.
o The World Trade Center staff notified contractors to secure construction sites and take precautionary measures including tying down and securing material and loose debris at construction sites; storing loose tools; and securing netting, banners, scaffolding and sidewalk sheds. Engineers also are implementing plans to secure cranes against the storm's winds, while crews are preparing to use pumps, sandbags and other measures to stem flooding.
The Thruway Authority is carefully monitoring the progress of Hurricane Sandy to ensure that the agency is ready to handle any potential impacts to their system. The agency has inspected drainage systems