New York City OEM issues hazardous travel advisory

June 7, 2013 8:16:56 PM PDT
The New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) issued a Hazardous Travel Advisory through early Saturday morning.

Almost as proof of Mother Nature's strength, a huge 60 foot tree fell onto a minivan on 97th Street and Riverside Avenue. Fortunately, no one was inside at the time.

A frontal system brought moderate to heavy rain ahead of the remnants of Tropical Storm Andrea, which were impacting New York City late Friday into Saturday morning.

The biggest threat from these systems is heavy rain and the potential for urban flooding. The City's Flash Flood Plan has been activated to ensure a quick, effective, and coordinated response to flash flood events. The plan is activated when it is forecasted to rain one inch per hour for the duration of an hour and/or the forecast predicts rainfall of two inches or more.

Flash flooding can occur with little or no warning due to the city's dense population and paved surfaces. These surfaces do not allow rainwater to be absorbed into the ground and can result in storm drains often being overwhelmed, causing localized flooding.

The activation includes precise weather monitoring to predict when and where flash floods will occur. OEM deploys Citywide Interagency Coordinators to locations with significant flooding to facilitate coordination and information collection. The Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Sanitation target recurring flood locations for catch basin cleaning and maintenance prior to major weather events. During the event, DOT patrols highways to identify and clear catch basin grates when possible.

Tips for Motorists and Pedestrians:

- If you must drive a vehicle, monitor weather and traffic reports for the latest road conditions.

- Use major streets or highways for travel whenever possible.

- Drive slowly. Vehicles, including those with 4-wheel drive, take longer to stop in wet conditions than on dry pavement.

- Avoid walking or driving through flooded streets. As few as six inches of moving water can knock a person over. One to two feet of water can carry away a vehicle.

- Flood water can be contaminated. Avoid contact with sewer water, as it poses a serious health risk.

- Exercise caution and avoid walking on slippery surfaces.

- Have heightened awareness of cars, particularly when approaching or crossing intersections.

- Report any downed power lines and avoid standing in flood water, as it can carry electrical current.

Staying in Touch with OEM

The Office of Emergency Management communicates directly with the public through a variety of tools, including Notify NYC. This is just one way the City of New York communicates urgent information to city residents. In addition to sending e-mails, text messages, and phone calls, the emergency notification office has the ability to activate NYC's Emergency Alert System (EAS), which sends information immediately via television and radio. Residents can also visit Facebook, Twitter, and the agency's website, for more information. The public can sign up for Notify NYC by calling 311 or going to