NEW YORK (WABC) — A travel advisory has been issued for New York City, as the Tri-State endures extended periods of heavy rainfall and widespread flash flooding Friday.
The travel advisory will be in effect from Friday until Saturday morning. A Flood Watch has also been issued for the city beginning Friday through 6 a.m. Saturday.
“All New Yorkers need to exercise caution,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol. “If you must travel, consider using public transportation and allow for extra travel time, and if you must drive, do not enter flooded roadways. If you live in a basement apartment, especially in a flood prone area, be prepared to move to higher ground.”
The National Weather Service has forecasted heavy rain of 2 to 4 inches, with possible higher amounts exceeding 5 inches in some areas.
MTA takes measures to prepare for storm
Additional crews were out Friday checking storm drains and valves in strategic locations.
The MTA also deployed trains that pump out water in case of flooding. If things get really bad underground, extra buses are on standby.
MTA officials held a briefing Thursday evening to update New Yorkers on the measures being taken to prepare for Friday’s storm.
In conjunction with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Management, the MTA announced the activation of its 24-hour situation room to monitor conditions and response across all operating agencies.
MTA employees will be deployed throughout the operating region checking flood-prone locations, pre-staging equipment, keeping signals, switches, and third rails operating, and attending to any weather-related challenges.
“This is a serious storm, and we’re taking it seriously,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “We have a detailed plan in place to protect our network and deliver safe service throughout the storm. MTA crews have been deployed at strategic locations so they can respond quickly.”
Lieber said that there may be impacts to service on Friday, but the plan is to run service everywhere the MTA operates.
MTA’s mobile pump trucks are all over the city and ready to go in the event that sewer lines can’t drain away water from subway stations fast enough.
It’s all in an effort to prevent the type of flooding in the subway system two years ago, when commuters trudged through waist-deep brown water to catch their downtown 1 train in a flood at 157th street.
“No matter what we do there is going to be water in the subway system,” Lieber said. “We all know that gravity is going to do its thing, we have 472 stations and just because of topography and of course that localized flash flooding, there is going to be water in some of our facilities, it is inevitable.”
And if subway service is compromised, the MTA says buses will fill in any service gaps.
Governor Hochul urges New Yorkers to prepare for impact
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday urged New Yorkers to prepare for the potential rainfall and flash flooding in the Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island regions.
Hochul urged New Yorkers to pay close attention to the forecast and changing conditions as her administration stands ready to respond to extreme weather impacts in affected areas.
“I’m directing state agencies to prepare response assets and be ready to assist our partners at the local level if they need support,” Hochul said. “I encourage anyone expected to receive heavy rainfall over the next 48 hours to stay vigilant, keep a close eye on the forecast, and heed any emergency orders from officials if necessary.”
- New Jersey storm preparations
Meanwhile in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy had a similar message for residents on the approaching storm.
“Beginning tonight through Friday, a slow-moving coastal storm is expected to bring heavy rainfall and localized flash and river flooding to parts of Northern and Central New Jersey, especially urban areas and neighborhoods with poor drainage,” Murphy said. “I have directed my team to prepare for the storm and coordinate in advance with county and local officials. I encourage all New Jerseyans to monitor local weather updates and remember to never drive or walk through flooded roads.”
In Hoboken, the city is offering a discounted parking rate of just $5 at certain municipal garages due to the chance of flooding.
The special rate per 24-hour period is being offered in Garages B (28 Second St.) and D (215 Hudson St.) to residents with a valid Resident On-Street Parking Permit or Temporary Parking Permit. This rate will be offered from 8 p.m. tonight through 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30., while space is available. Hoboken residents with disabilities who possess either a handicapped license plate or hang tag for their permitted vehicle may also park in the Midtown Garage (371 Fourth St.) for the same reduced rate.
See below for a list of information on state and city resources, operations, and safety tips:
New York City Subway and Staten Island Railway
Due to the nature of the subway system, rainwater will inevitably go down into the system and impact infrastructure. NYC Transit’s focus during heavy rain events is to minimize impacts to service by responding and removing water quickly when it does infiltrate the system. NYC Transit’s Department of Subways has a fleet of emergency response equipment including emergency trucks, deployable pumps, debris trains and pump trains, ready to deploy in response to flooding conditions and debris in the roadway. Field personnel inspects and clean vents and drains at flood-prone locations, and personnel is staged at critical locations including stations and yards, ready to deploy and respond to flooding conditions.
New York City Buses
MTA personnel will monitor routes for known flooding situations, and have detours prepared. Extra personnel will be on standby in the event of service disruptions or subway shutdowns. All bus facilities will have roof drains checked and ensure they are clear of debris and any loose materials will be secured. Emergency generators are being checked and will be ready in the event of a power outage.
MTA Bridges and Tunnels
MTA Bridges and Tunnels personnel have activated full inclement weather preparedness for all facilities and the Operations Command Center Weather Desk will monitor the forecast. Staff will coordinate ahead of the storm to ensure a quick response to any weather-related issues that may arise. Bridges are equipped with embedded roadway sensors which measure temperature and above-ground atmospheric sensors that deliver real-time information on wind velocity, wind direction, humidity, and precipitation via wireless communication. Restrictions may be put in place if weather conditions warrant.
Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad
Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad crews will be pre-positioned around the system ready to respond to any weather-related issues. Crews have equipment on hand to be able to respond quickly as conditions warrant – chainsaws for clearing downed trees, pumps in the event of flooded areas, identifying locations and availability of supplies for replacing damaged utility poles and crossing gates. Diesel locomotives will also be pre-positioned to minimize any potential service impacts. Personnel will survey and clear drainage areas where necessary, fortify key locations and look for trees requiring removal as well as any track structures requiring attention.
Access-A-Ride paratransit will continue to provide service. Customers may experience additional delays and wait times. Customers may want to consider adjusting their travel plans.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
State agency preparations
New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ State Watch Center is monitoring weather and travel conditions, and coordinating any response needs with local governments. All of the Division’s offices are prepared to respond with personnel and resources, in the event of severe weather impacts.
New York State Department of Transportation
The State Department of Transportation is prepared to respond to the weather event with nearly 3,500 operators and supervisors available statewide. Statewide equipment numbers are as follows:
Thruway Authority staff continues to closely monitor the forecast and weather impacts on the Thruway system. The Thruway Authority has 661 staff members prepared to proactively inspect storm drains across the system, fine-tune equipment and monitor rock slopes in areas susceptible to heavy rain. Deployable equipment includes small to medium sized excavators, large loaders, portable VMS boards, portable light towers, small generators, small pumps and equipment hauling trailers, as well as signage and other traffic control devices available for any detours or closures.
The Thruway Authority encourages motorists to download its mobile app which provides direct access to live traffic cameras, real-time traffic information and navigation assistance while on the go. Motorists can also sign up for TRANSalert e-mails which provide the latest traffic incidents along the Thruway, follow @NYSThruway on Twitter, and visit thruway.ny.gov to see an interactive map showing traffic conditions for the Thruway and other New York State roadways.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
New York State DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers, Forest Rangers, Emergency Management staff, and regional staff are monitoring the developing situation and weather forecasts and will actively patrol areas and infrastructure likely to be impacted by severe weather. All available assets, including swift water rescue teams, will be positioned to assist with any emergency response.
Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
New York State Park Police and park personnel are on alert and closely monitoring weather conditions and impacts. Park visitors should visit parks.ny.gov, check the free NY State Parks Explorer mobile app or call their local park office for the latest updates regarding park hours, openings and closings.
Department of Public Service
New York’s utilities have approximately 5,500 workers available to engage in damage assessment, response, repair, and restoration efforts across New York State for this event. Agency staff will track utilities’ work throughout the event and ensure utilities shift appropriate staffing to regions that experience the greatest impact.
New York State Police
State Police are prepared to deploy additional Troopers, as needed, to affected areas. All State Police specialized vehicles, including four-wheel drive vehicles and Utility Task Vehicles, are staged and ready for immediate response. All Troop emergency power and communications equipment has been tested.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is closely monitoring weather conditions to ensure safe, reliable service. MTA employees will be poised to respond to any weather-related issues.
To reduce the likelihood of flooding and respond to any instances of flooding that do occur, MTA crews will inspect drains in flood-prone areas to ensure they are functional, and supervisors will monitor flood-prone locations for any reports of flooding to ensure quick response. Elevator and escalator specialists will be deployed to flood-prone locations to attend to any weather-related elevator and escalator troubles.
Customers are encouraged to check new.mta.info for the latest service updates, and to use caution while navigating the system. Customers should also sign up for real-time service alerts via text or email. These alerts are also available via the MTA’s apps: MYmta and TrainTime.
The Port Authority is monitoring weather conditions. Speed restrictions may be in effect at the bridges, as well as along roadways to and from the crossings. Passengers through the Port Authority’s facilities are encouraged to reach out to carriers and airlines directly for the latest information on delays and cancelations.
For the latest information about Port Authority facilities, please check social media, sign up for PA alerts or download one of the PA mobile apps, including RidePATH which provides real-time updates and alerts for PATH service.
Severe Weather Safety Tips for New Yorkers
All New Yorkers should know how to stay aware of severe weather and receive timely alerts that let them know what they need to do to stay safe, including evacuation. The best way to receive timely weather alerts is by signing up for NY-Alert, a free service that provides weather and other emergency-related alerts.
Take the following steps to ensure you and your loved ones are protected:
Take the following preventative measures:
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