Category Archive: Severe weather

Dismissal time alert: Threat for Severe Thunderstorms and Flash Flooding

Posted on June 19, 2017

The New York area office of the  National Weather Service forecasts the possibility of severe weather late this afternoon and beyond. In some areas the heavy rains might arrive at 2-3PM. We suggest that you closely monitor the weather reports for your area and be prepared to institute alternative dismissal plans if necessary.

Exercise caution when walking, driving, or biking. Winds at these speeds can cause flying debris, turn unsecured objects into projectiles, & cause power outages. Charge cell phone batteries, gather supplies, & turn refrigerators/freezers to a colder setting. Stay clear of downed power lines. If you are affected by an outage, turn off all appliances & keep refrigerator/freezer doors closed to prevent food spoilage. Do not use generators indoors. If you lose power & have a disability/access needs, or use Life Sustaining Equipment (LSE) & need immediate assistance, dial 9-1-1.

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Posted in Severe weather

Blizzard on the way?

NWS Most likely accumulations

Mayor de Blasio today issued a hazardous travel advisory for Saturday, January 23, 2016 through Sunday, January 24, 2016. Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Counties have issued similar advisories. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Blizzard Watch for New York City from Saturday morning through Sunday afternoon. This system is forecast to bring heavy snow along with strong and potentially damaging winds, and will create slick and hazardous travel conditions. Stay tuned for the latest updates via Notify NYC, NYC Severe Weather.

What’s in store? For most of the region, the current NWS forecast is for heavy snow (8 to 12 inches forecast) and potentially damaging northeast winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 50 mph in much of the region. There is also likely to be coastal flooding over multiple high tide cycles.

How should I prepare? Travel during the storm may be extremely dangerous due to heavy snowfall, strong winds and whiteout conditions. Some roads may become impassable and strong winds may down power lines and tree limbs.

  • Stock up with enough food and supplies. You might not be able to shop over the weekend.
  • Have extra batteries on hand in the event of power outages.
  • Check on your neighbors, especially those who are vulnerable.

Travel Safety Tips. New Yorkers are encouraged to take the following precautions:

Motorists

  • If you must drive a vehicle, monitor weather and traffic reports for the latest road conditions. Use mass transportation whenever possible.
  • Drive slowly. Posted speed limits are for ideal weather conditions. Vehicles take longer to stop on snow and ice than on dry pavement.
  • Use major streets or highways for travel whenever possible.
  • Four-wheel drive vehicles may make it easier to drive on snow-covered roads, but they do not stop quicker than other vehicles.
  • Keep the name and phone number of at least one local towing service in your car in case you break down or become stuck in snow.
  • If you get stuck on the road, stay with your car and contact a towing company.

Pedestrians

  • Exercise caution and avoid slippery surfaces; some ice may not be visible.
  • Wear layers including a hat, gloves/mittens, and a scarf to stay protected from the cold. And keep clothes and shoes dry, if a layer becomes wet, remove it.
  • Keep fingertips, earlobes, and noses covered if you go outside.
  • Have heightened awareness of cars, particularly when approaching or crossing intersections.
  • Wear sturdy boots that provide traction to reduce slipping. Use handrails when using stairs.
  • Seniors should take extra care outdoors to avoid slips and falls from icy conditions.

Safe Home Heating Tips

  • Report any loss of heat or hot water to property managers immediately, and call 311.
  • If homes lack heat, get to a warm place, if possible, and wear extra layers of dry, loose-fitting clothing, hats and gloves to help stay warm.
  • Never use a gas stove to heat your home.
  • Never use a kerosene or propane space heater, charcoal or gas grill, or generator indoors or near the home.
  • Check on your neighbors, friends, and relatives — especially the elderly and those with disabilities and access and functional needs. People most likely to be exposed to dangerous winter weather conditions include those who lack shelter, work outdoors, and/or live in homes with malfunctioning or inadequate heat. Seniors, infants, people with chronic cardiovascular or lung conditions, people using alcohol or drugs, and people with cognitive impairments such as from dementia, serious mental illness or developmental disability, are at increased risk.

More Information
For more helpful tips for staying warm and safe, view NYC Emergency Management’s public service video announcement, or visit NYC.gov/EmergencyManagement. New Yorkers are also encouraged to sign up for Notify NYC, the City’s free emergency notification system. Through Notify NYC, New Yorkers can receive phone calls, text messages, and/or emails alerts about traffic and transit disruptions and other emergencies. To sign up for Notify NYC, call 311, visit NYC.gov/notifynyc, or follow @NotifyNYC on Twitter.

Sukkahs in the wind

Please distribute on blogs and synagogue/community listserves.

NYC Emergency Management (NYCEM) is now advising New Yorkers to prepare for ongoing sustained winds upwards of 30mph with wind gusts in excess of 70mph. Most Succoth, especially in open areas or experiencing sustained gusts, are not built for such conditions.

The Rabbinical Council of America is distributing this document, developed by Rabbi Kenneth Brander with profound thanks to Rav Hershel Schachter, shlita for his guidance. The relevant portion of the document follows:

Sukkot, Shemeni Atzeret & Simchat HaTorah

  •  If the weather forecast is for winds of over 40 mph there is a serious danger that the sukkah will become flying debris which can create dangerous projectiles and should be dismantled before Shabbat/Yom Tov.
  • If there is a concern of schach flying around (in winds that are less than 40 mph winds) then the schach can be tied down even with plastic cable ties.
  • If schach needs to be replaced or tied down on the sukkah on Shabbat or Yom Tov in can be done by a Gentile.
  • If there is concern about going to shul on Simchat Torah morning – Vezot ha’Berakha can be read on the night of Simchat Torah in five aliyot. Alternatively should the storm pass by Simchat Torah afternoon then hakafot and torah reading can be read at an early mincha on Simchat Torah.

Of course, individuals and organizations should consult with their appropriate halachic authorities. Some additional tips:

  • Secure your Sukkah to fixed objects such as posts or fencing. Unsecured bamboo mats can become airborne, leading to injuries and property damage. Unsecured walls (either canvas or plywood) are essentially sails and could collapse and/or blow away. This is already happening in the Washington, DC area.
  • Balconies. Succoth built on balconies on higher floors are subject to higher winds.
  • There is a likelihood of blackouts during the storm. See the RCA document here for additional guidance. The source document with citations can be found here.
  • Drying. If you do take down and secure your Sukkah over the next few days, the materials and skhakh are likely to be wet. To avoid mold, be sure to thoroughly dry everything after Sukkoth before you store it. (HT Dori Zofan).

Thanks to NYCEM Commissioner Joseph Esposito and Assistant Commissioner Ira Tannenbaum for their ongoing leadership and concern. Here is the NYCEM guidance:

The National Weather Service forecast for the next several days includes wind speeds that are predicted to be between 15 and 30 miles per hour with gusts up to 40 mph at times. High winds can down trees and power lines, blow out windows, blow down signs, cause flying debris, and structural collapse. Individuals who have constructed a Succah for the holiday should take appropriate actions to secure the structure and roofing to prevent damage or injury from flying debris.

Ira Tannenbaum
Assistant Commissioner, Public/Private Initiatives
New York City Emergency Management
165 Cadman Plaza East
Brooklyn, NY 11201

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New reduce your risk tools

New York City’s dense population and geographic location make it especially vulnerable to emergencies caused by natural and man-made hazards. While it is important for you to protect yourself and your families from emergencies, it is also important to protect your property. The hazards faced by Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester residents are similar, with some exceptions (e.g., Westchester planners are concerned with an Indian Point event).

The New York City Emergency Management Department, in partnership with the New York City Department of City Planning and the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, is pleased to announce the launch of NYC’s Risk Landscape: A Guide to Hazard Mitigation. Based on the FEMA-approved and locally adopted 2014 Hazard Mitigation Plan, NYC’s Risk Landscape focuses on a targeted group of hazards that pose a risk to the city, and includes information on how the City approaches risk management in a user-friendly and accessible format.  Additionally, the guide includes informative maps, infographics, and images to help New Yorkers gain a deeper understanding of specific hazards as well as best practices in risk reduction.  Hazards addressed in this guide include coastal erosion, coastal storms, earthquakes, extreme heat, flooding, pandemic influenza, strong windstorms, water shortage, and winter weather.

For more information, please visit nyc.gov/hazardmitigation or click here for the guide. Click for specific guidance for Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Counties and for New York State.

For more information about how to Reduce Your Risk, please visitnyc.gov/reduceyourrisk or click here for the Ready New York: Reduce Your Risk brochure.

 

Tornado Watch Guidance

The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Watch for most of southern New York State and NJ. Click on the links for more localized information. 
A tornado watch defines an area shaped like a parallelogram, where tornadoes and other kinds of severe weather are possible in the next several hours. It does not mean tornadoes are imminent — just that you need to be alert, and to be prepared to go to safe shelter if tornadoes do happen or a warning is issued.
Recently, New Yorkers have learned that tornadoes can happen here. To learn more about personal preparedness, click here. Jewish organizations should put their tornado watch plans into effect:
  • Flying debris is the greatest hazard in most severe storms. Make sure that your sukkot and their contents are secured or brought inside. 
  • Turn on local TV or radio, turn on and set the alarm switch on your weather radio, make sure you have ready access to safe shelter, and make your friends and family aware of the potential for tornadoes in the area.
  • Keep children at school beyond regular hours if threatening weather is expected; and inform parents of this policy. Children are safer deep within a school than in a bus or car. Students should not be sent home early if severe weather is approaching, because they may still be out on the roads when it hits.
  • Lunches or assemblies in large rooms should be postponed if severe weather is approaching. As illustrated above, gymnasiums, cafeterias, and auditoriums offer no meaningful protection from tornado-strength winds. Also, even if there is no tornado, severe thunderstorms can generate winds strong enough to cause major damage.
  • Get more information tornado preparedness and planning for schools  from the National Weather Service click here.