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News Release

August 25, 2011      

For Further Information Contact:
William R. Steinhaus, County Executive
(845) 486-2000

Dutchess County Prepares for Hurricane Irene
Emergency Operations Center to be activated

Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Emergency Response officials are closely monitoring Hurricane Irene as it moves up the eastern coast toward New York.     Over the past two days, there have been a series of meetings and conferences calls with a variety of county agencies and partners, including the National Weather Service, the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, Dutchess County Department of Public Works, Dutchess County Medical Reserve Corps, New York State Emergency Management Office and Central Hudson.

“We are working with our county and partner agencies to identify and assess risks and potential impacts from Hurricane Irene,” said Dutchess County Emergency Response Coordinator Dana Smith.  “The last rain event of this magnitude to impact this area was Hurricane Floyd in 1999, when 10 inches of rain fell.    Hurricane Irene is predicted to bring similar or greater rainfall with the additional risk factor of high winds.”

The latest information provided by the National Weather Service in Albany anticipates Dutchess County will be impacted by Hurricane Irene this weekend.    Winds are projected to escalate on Sunday morning, reaching 40 to 50 mph by noon.   Winds are expected to increase into the evening, possibly reaching up to 70 mph.    Rainfall of up to 10 to 12 inches is anticipated.  

According to Mr. Smith, the Dutchess County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will be activated on an limited basis tomorrow and Saturday to continue monitoring weather conditions and continued coordination of county preparation efforts.     The EOC will be fully activated on Sunday as the storm conditions reach the area.

Some of the current county preparation activities include:

  • Extra staffing is being coordinated for the weekend for the 911 Center and the Department of Public Works.

  • Contact names and numbers are being updated for weekend availability to ensure quick communication and response.

  • Aging Services – shelf stable meals have been delivered to vulnerable home delivered meal clients in the event that deliveries are interrupted on Monday.

  • Department of Planning & Development – utilizing GIS mapping technology to identify and monitor high risk areas.

  • Department of Public Works – sandbags and diesel fuel carrier on standby to support county and municipal agencies including fire and police departments.

Residents are also encouraged to take steps to prepare for the approaching storm.   “We are advising residents whose homes and businesses are prone to flooding to take the necessary precautions to minimize any adverse impact due to the heavy rain,” said Emergency Response Coordinator Dana Smith.  “The weather is difficult to predict, but it is best to err on the side of caution and take some simple steps to prevent possible flooding.”

Steps residents can take to minimize the impact of heavy rain and possible flooding include:

  • Keep drains clear of leaves and other debris.
  • Ensure that drainpipes are not obstructed.
  • Bring outdoor possessions, such as lawn furniture, grills and trash cans inside
  • Remove items stored in areas such as basements or sheds where flooding may have occurred in the past.

Heavy rains and flooding can be a problem for drivers, too.  Residents are urged to exercise caution and heed the following travel advice to safely navigate wet roads:

  • Budget extra travel time to avoid being marooned on flooded roads. 
  • Make sure you have enough fuel for your car. 
  • Watch for areas where rivers or streams may suddenly rise and flood, such as highway dips, bridges, and low areas. 
  • DO NOT attempt to drive over a flooded road. Turn around and go another way.

With such heavy rainfall and high winds predicted, residents should be prepared for power outages and other storm related issues.  A storm of this magnitude is certain to keep emergency responders very busy.      A good rule of thumb is to be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least three days, no matter what the emergency.   Below is a basic emergency checklist for families to use as a guide.    Store items in watertight containers that can be easily moved.

Items to keep in your home for emergency use:

  • Water – one gallon per person per day.
  • Food – ready to eat or requiring minimal water
  • Manual can opener
  • Radio – battery operated
  • Flashlight 
  • Batteries
  • Personal hygiene items – toothpaste, toilet paper, soap, etc.
  • Cash – power outages could impact ATMs.
  • First Aid Kit
  • Copy of important documents and contact phone numbers
  • Medication & medical supplies used on a regular basis – be sure to have a supply to last for several days.
  • Large, heavy duty trash bags.   Garbage service may be disrupted.
  • Pet supplies including food, water and extra litter

Many of the items listed above should also be part of an emergency “go kit” in the event of an evacuation.    For complete checklists for emergency planning, including specific tips for preparing for storms, flooding, hurricanes and evacuations, visit the county’s website at and click on the Emergency Preparedness tab under Quick Links on the right side.   

You can also follow the updates on Dutchess County Government’s social media pages including Facebook at   and Twitter at!/DutchessCoGov.

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County Executive

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