Weathering The NYC Hurricane Season
By LIZ GOFF
Nothing changes like the weather, especially during the hurricane season when strong winds and flash flooding can wreak havoc on neighborhoods.
Meteorologists agree that severe weather should be taken very seriously, since it can be dangerous to both you and your property.
Hurricane season officially began in New York City on June 1 and the city’s Office of Emergency Management has prepared a guide for residents containing tips on how to prepare for a major storm.
“Ready New York: Hurricanes and New York City” offers tips for setting up emergency food and medical supply kits, how to prepare a “Go-Bag” for hurricane evacuation, how to secure your home and prepare disaster plans and locations of likely flood zones in Queens.
The guide also provides a list of evacuation centers located throughout Queens neighborhoods.
Hurricane Irene had been downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it struck Queens in August 2011, but it still managed to cause major damage – taking down trees, flooding local streets and causing power outages.
The city prepared for Hurricane Irene by shutting down MTA bus and rail service and with the first mandatory residential evacuations in the city’s history.
The guide is available in 12 languages on OEM’s website at www.nyc.gov/html/oem/html/ready/hurricaneguide or by calling 311.
Residents may also sign up to receive emergency updates online or by email, text or phone messages through the city’s “Notify NYC” program or at www.nyc.gov.notifynyc.
The following is a compilation of National Weather Service terms and what they really mean – tips from weather authorities on how to cope with harsh weather or major storms:
What is a Severe Thunderstorm Watch?
When there is a potential for thunderstorms to form, which can produce wind gusts greater than 58 mph, and/or hail greater than 1-inch in diameter.
What is a Severe Thunderstorm Warning?
When a severe thunderstorm is occurring.
What is a Tornado Watch?
When a tornado could form in the next few hours.
What is a Tornado Warning?
A tornado has been reported and/or the National Weather Service radar has detected a tornado of “great strength.”
Flash Flood Watch:
Localized flooding due to heavy rainfall is possible.
Flash Flood Warning:
Localized flooding due to heavy rainfall is imminent.
What should you do, in case of a severe thunderstorm?
Avoid handling metal, electrical equipment, telephone, bathtubs, water faucets and sinks, because lightning can follow the wires and pipes. Be especially careful with televisions, authorities advise.
What to do in a flash flood:
Seek high ground. Never attempt to drive your vehicle through standing water.
What to do in a tornado:
Go to your basement or the lowest point of your residence, or an interior room or hallway without windows. If you cannot find shelter, take cover in a ditch or other recessed area.
Leave immediately, if authorities advise you to evacuate.
What can you do to help weather major storms?
Shutter or board windows
Secure outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, or garbage cans that could blow away and cause damage or injury.
Never touch downed power lines – they could still be “live,”
For additional information on how to cope with changing weather, logon to www.national weather service.com