NEWYORK NY (WETM) – Governor Kathy Hochul announced today the start of Severe Weather Awareness Week in New York State. Informing the public on the need for New Yorkers to stay aware and have a plan in place for their household when severe weather occurs.

A partnership between New York State, the National Weather Service, local and volunteer agencies, and private sector organizations helps educate New Yorkers about the hazards of severe weather during the spring and summer months. Severe weather, includes flash flooding, severe thunderstorms, and tornadoes. 

“Severe weather is often dangerous and unpredictable, but the steps we collectively take to prepare can minimize the devastating impacts it could have on our daily lives,” Governor Hochul said, “I encourage all New Yorkers to spend time this week learning about the risks we face from severe weather and what we can do to protect ourselves and embolden our efforts to remain disaster-ready.”

Governor Hochul and Commissioner Bray outlined the four steps to emergency preparedness and what New Yorkers can do to keep themselves and their families safe from disaster:

  1. Develop a plan for you and your family at home, school, work, and outdoors. Identify a safe place to take shelter and know what actions to take when a warning is issued. Consider pets when planning for an emergency.
  2. Build a kit of emergency supplies to last at least 10 days. Include flashlights, weather radio, and extra batteries. You should have one kit each for your home and your vehicle. Plan for any medical needs your family may have. Keep emergency supplies for pets.
  3. Stay tuned to TV and radio stations that broadcast Emergency Alert System (EAS) messages and follow local emergency orders when issued.  Receive emergency information directly to your computer or cell phone by subscribing to NY Alert at, a free service that provides you with critical emergency information when you need it most.
  4. Consider visiting your local emergency management office to learn more about how to protect you and your family. Consider volunteering with organizations such as the American Red CrossNew York Cares, or the Salvation Army.

Severe Weather Safety Tips

Disaster Supplies

Have disaster supplies on hand, including:

  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Emergency food and water
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Essential medicines
  • Checkbook, cash, credit cards, ATM cards

Flash Flooding

  • Never attempt to drive on a flooded road. Turn around and go another way.
  • If water begins to rise rapidly around you in your car, abandon the vehicle immediately.
  • Do not underestimate the power of fast-moving water. Two feet of fast-moving flood water will float your car, and water moving at two miles per hour can sweep cars off a road or bridge.


  • Follow the 30-30 rule: If the time between when you see a flash of lightning and hear thunder is 30 seconds or less, the lightning is close enough to hit you. Seek shelter immediately. After the last flash of lightning, wait 30 minutes before leaving your shelter.
  • Lightning hits the tallest object. If you are above a tree line, quickly get below it and crouch down if you are in an exposed area.
  • If you can’t get to a shelter, stay away from trees. If there is no shelter, crouch in the open, keeping twice as far away from a tree as it is tall.


  • If outdoors and a Tornado Warning is issued, seek shelter immediately. If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in a ditch or low spot with your hands shielding your head.
  • If at home or in a small building, go to the basement or an interior room on the lowest floor of the building. Stay away from windows. Closets, bathrooms, and other interior rooms offer the best protection. Get under something sturdy or cover yourself with a mattress.
  • If in a school, hospital, or shopping center, go to a pre-designated shelter area. Stay away from large open areas and windows. Do not go outside to your car.
  • If in a high-rise building, go to an interior small room or hallway on the lowest floor possible. Do not use elevators – use stairs instead.

For more information on personal preparedness and how to stay safe during severe weather, visit: