Governor Hochul urges New Yorkers to prepare for severe thunderstorms Thursday afternoon and evening

Governor Kathy Hochul today urged New Yorkers to prepare for strong and severe thunderstorms that are expected to affect most of the state Thursday afternoon and continue through the evening.

“We are watching the forecast closely today as severe storms could affect much of the state this evening, with reports of a brief tornado passing through Wyoming County,” Governor Hochul said. “I urge New Yorkers to pay attention to their local forecasts and sign up for emergency alerts so they can take steps to stay safe ahead of the inclement weather.”

The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center has placed much of the state on a severe thunderstorm watch until 8 p.m. These storms are capable of bringing damaging winds, strong enough to down trees and power lines – causing blackouts, hail up to and possibly over an inch in diameter and heavy rains that can bring isolated flash floods.

State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said: “New Yorkers should be prepared for inclement weather affecting most of the state through tonight. DHSES is currently monitoring weather conditions across the state and communicating with our local government partners to ensure they are prepared for any impact related to the storm. I ask everyone to stay informed today, sign up for alerts and follow your local forecast as conditions can change throughout the day.”

For a complete list of weather alerts and forecasts, visit the National Weather Service website at New Yorkers are also encouraged to sign up for emergency alerts by subscribing to NY Alert at, a free service providing critical emergency information via text/call/e -mail.

Severe Weather Safety Tips


  • Know the county in which you live and the names of nearby towns. Severe weather warnings are issued by county.
  • Learn the safest route from your home or business to high, safe ground if you need to leave quickly.
  • Develop and practice a “family escape” plan and identify a meeting place if family members become separated.
  • Make a detailed list of all valuables, including furniture, clothing, and other personal property. Keep the list in a safe place.
  • Stock up on emergency supplies of canned food, medicine, first aid supplies and drinking water. Store drinking water in clean, closed containers.
  • Plan what to do with your pets.
  • Have a portable radio, flashlights, extra batteries and emergency cooking supplies available.
  • Keep your vehicle fueled or charged. If the power supply is cut off, gas stations may not be able to pump fuel for several days. Have a small first aid kit in the trunk of your car.

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 drugs
  • Checkbook, cash, credit cards, bank cards


  • If you are outdoors and a tornado warning is issued, seek shelter immediately. If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in a ditch or low place with your hands protecting your head.
  • If you are 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 you are in a school, hospital, or mall, go to a pre-designated shelter. Stay away from large open spaces and windows. Don’t get out of your car.
  • If you are in a high-rise building, go to a small room or an interior hallway on the lowest floor possible. Don’t use the elevators – use the stairs instead.

flash flood

  • Never attempt to drive on a flooded road. Turn around and take another path.
  • If the water begins to rise rapidly around you in your car, immediately abandon the vehicle.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of fast moving water. Two feet of fast-moving floodwater will cause your car to float, and water moving at two miles an hour can sweep cars off a road or bridge.


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

For more safety tips, visit the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Safety Tips webpage at

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