Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today declared a state of emergency in Dutchess, Putnam, Sullivan and Westchester counties as they continue to recover from the intense winter storm that impacted New York over the past several days. Additionally, the Governor announced the deployment of an additional 100 members of the New York National Guard to further assist communities with recovery efforts. Senior administration officials remain on site in each of the four counties as they help lead recovery efforts -- Director of State Operations Cathy Calhoun has been deployed to Dutchess County, Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Roger Parrino is in Putnam County, Public Service Commission Chair John Rhodes is in Westchester County and New York Power Authority Senior Vice President of Public and Regulatory Affairs Kimberly Harriman and Regional Operations Superintendent Mark Olig are in Sullivan County. The New York State Emergency Operations Center also remains open to further support local and state partners during recovery operations.
"In the wake of this week's destructive winter storm, I am declaring a state of emergency across Dutchess, Putnam, Sullivan and Westchester Counties and am doubling the deployment of National Guard members assisting with recovery operations," Governor Cuomo said.
"This is an all-hands-on-deck situation and the people of the Hudson Valley should know that New York State is doing everything we can to restore power and help them recover as quickly as possible." This complex winter storm left more than 360,000 New Yorkers without power at its height as a result of dangerously strong winds, rain and snow that took down trees, branches, and power lines. Sustained winds of over 30 mph, with gusts of 50 mph to over 60 mph, were recorded in the lower Hudson Valley.
On Saturday, the Governor announced the deployment of an initial 100 National Guard members and 30 vehicles out of Camp Smith in Westchester County to assist state, county and local officials with recovery efforts ranging from debris clearance to traffic control. The total deployment now stands at 200. Crews from the New York State Department of Transportation have also been dispatched to assist localities with storm cleanup and debris removal as well as to support for utility restoration operations. In the Southern Tier and Hudson Valley regions, the Department has deployed more than 1,000 operators and supervisors, 388 large dump trucks, 23 chippers, three tree crew bucket trucks, 12 signal trucks, and 91 loaders.
Governor Cuomo urges residents to stay away from any lines that are down as they may be live, and should be considered extremely dangerous. Motorists are reminded that State Law mandates that if an intersection is "blacked out" and the traffic signal is not operational, the intersection is automatically a "four way" stop. In the event of closed or blocked roadways due to flooding, downed power lines or debris, motorists are advised to exercise caution and obey all traffic signs or barricades in place, regardless of whether a roadway looks clear.
New Yorkers should also check on friends, family and neighbors, especially the elderly. Power outages can affect the ability of individuals to heat their homes, which could lead to dangerously cold temperatures in the winter months.
The Governor is offering these additional safety tips: If You Lose Power
After a Power Outage
- Call your utility provider to notify them of the outage and listen to local broadcasts for official information. For a list of utilities, visit the New York State Department of Public Service Check to see if your neighbors have power. Check on people with access or functional needs.
- Use only flashlights for emergency lighting - candles pose the risk of fire.
- Keep refrigerators and freezer doors closed - most food requiring refrigeration can be kept safely in a closed refrigerator for several hours. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for approximately four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours.
- Do not use a charcoal grill indoors and do not use a gas stove for heat - they could give off harmful levels of carbon monoxide.
- In cold weather, stay warm by dressing in layers and minimizing time spent outdoors. Be aware of cold stress symptoms (i.e., hypothermia) and seek proper medical attention if symptoms appear.
- Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures above 40°F (4°C) for two or more hours, or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. "When in doubt, throw it out!"
- If food in the freezer is colder than 40° F and has ice crystals on it, it can be re-frozen.
- If you are concerned about medications having spoiled, contact your doctor.
- Restock your emergency kit with fresh batteries, canned foods and other supplies.