Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday declared the week of March 13 as Flood Safety Awareness Week in New York state.
“Flooding is the top weather-related threat New Yorkers face, and Flood Safety Awareness Week is a great opportunity to learn what to do before, during and after a flood event,” Hochul said. “New York state is home to numerous bodies of water, including the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers, the Finger Lakes, coastal areas, and countless rivers, lakes and streams — all the more reason for New Yorkers to understand the danger of flooding and how to best prepare.”
The annual campaign, conducted in partnership with the National Weather Service, educates New Yorkers about flood dangers and how to prepare for any emergency involving flooding. The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services works with local, state and federal partners year-round to address issues involving flooding, including recovering from past events, training first responders, and preparing everyday New Yorkers to understand the risks and know what steps to take when there’s a flood.
Officials reported that the risk of flooding across New York State and the rest of the country is increasing due to climate change. The warming atmosphere impacts the weather in several ways, including heavier precipitation, tropical storms and hurricanes occurring with more frequency, and higher sea levels due to increasing ocean temperatures and melting of ice sheets. Across the United States, flooding causes billions of dollars in damage and is responsible for almost 100 deaths each year.
“In just the last few years, New York has seen devasting impacts from flooding across the state,” said Jackie Bray, New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services commissioner. “Find out if you live in a flood-prone area and learn the steps to take to prevent flooding before it strikes.”
Flooding can cause damage and injury with little warning and in several different ways, including power outages, disruptions to transportation and transit systems, building damage, and catastrophic landslides. Hochul and Bray encouraged individuals to sign-up for free emergency alerts such as weather warnings, road closures, and other emergency information at alert.ny.gov.
Tips for preparing for flooding:
• Do not wait to plan. If you live in a flood-prone area, document your belongings and valuables. Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Create digital, password-protected copies of important documents, pictures, and other items.
• Obtain flood insurance coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program. Homeowner’s policies do not cover flooding.
• If advised by emergency officials to take immediate action such as evacuation, do not wait — follow all orders promptly.
• Traveling during a flood can be extremely dangerous. One foot of moving water can sweep a vehicle away. Never walk, swim or drive through flood waters. If you have doubts, remember: “Turn Around, Don’t Drown!”
• Consider those with access and functional needs to determine if they are prepared for a flood emergency where they live and work. Develop an emergency plan that includes considerations for children and pets.