(WETM) — As areas across New York State are facing severe weather, the governor’s office has released some tips to help New Yorkers stay safe.
“A strong weather system is expected to impact the state today with heavy rainfall and high winds, especially in the Southern Tier and western portions of the Mid-Hudson Valley, and more severe weather is set to impact additional upstate regions on Tuesday,” said Governor Hochul. “I urge all New Yorkers to watch the weather forecast closely this week and prepare to act, if necessary, to protect yourself and others.”
Everyone should prepare a disaster supply kit before severe weather hits. Kits should include flashlights, a battery-operated radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit and manual, emergency food, water, and a non-electric can opener. Essential items that can’t be stowed away ahead of time, like medications, credit cards, and ATM cards, should be gathered before seeking shelter.
In the event of a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately. If you’re home or in a small building, go to the basement or an interior room on the ground floor of the building and stay away from windows. Closets and bathrooms offer the best protection. Get underneath something sturdy or place a mattress over yourself if possible. If you’re in a school, hospital, or shopping center, go to the pre-designated shelter area and stay away from large open areas and windows. You should not go outside to your car. If you’re in a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible and use the stairs instead of an elevator. If you are outside and cannot seek shelter, lie flat in a ditch or a low spot on the ground with your hands shielding your head.
It’s best to avoid driving during heavy rains and flash flooding. Never attempt to drive on a flooded roadway. If you’re driving when a flash flood hits and you come across a flooded road, turn around and find an alternate route or shelter. If water begins to rapidly rise around your car, abandon it immediately. Two feet of water flowing as little as two miles per hour can sweep cars off the road.
Stay indoors during thunderstorms whenever possible. If the time between when you see lightning and hear thunder is 30 seconds or less, the lightning is close enough to strike you. Stay in a crouched position out in the open if you can’t get inside during a thunderstorm. Lightning hits the tallest object in the area, so if you’re stuck outside and above the tree line, get below it quickly. Be sure to stay away from trees as well. The distance you are from a tree should be twice as long as the tree is tall.
For more information about how to stay safe during severe weather, visit the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ website.