Steinhaus Directs County Response to Hurricane Irene
Ten Mile River Significant Concern for Rapid Flooding
Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus and numerous other county officials continue to monitor the path Hurricane Irene and prepare for the potential storm impacts on Dutchess County. The County Executive cut short an annual family vacation, returning today to help coordinate county emergency operations. Throughout the day, County Executive Steinhaus and county emergency response officials as well as partner agencies have participated on a variety of conference calls with the National Weather Service, New York State Emergency Management as well as Central Hudson.
At the County Executive’s direction, the Dutchess County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is currently on a partial activation throughout the evening (Saturday) with full activation of the EOC beginning Sunday morning at 6am. County Executive Steinhaus will be in the EOC this evening along with senior staff and representatives from numerous county agencies including Emergency Response, Office of Computer Information Systems (OCIS) Public Works, Sheriff’s Office and many more as well as partner agencies including American Red Cross, New York State Police. Additional departments and partner agencies, including Central Hudson, will be staffed in the EOC tomorrow.
“All of our agencies have been mobilized and ready to deal with storm impacts. It is important residents heed storm warnings and take the necessary precautions and preparations to ensure they are ready for the storm as well. The impacts of this storm could be massive and it is certain that the resources of government, volunteer and career emergency responders as well as the local utilities will be strained,” said Steinhaus.
Hurricane Irene is a 500 mile wide storm. New York State, including Dutchess County, is already seeing scattered bands of rain from the storm. Weather forecasts indicate the storm will become much worse in the Dutchess County area overnight as rainfall and wind begin around 6pm. The full impact of Hurricane Irene is expected to hit this area by Sunday morning. Winds are predicted at 35 to 50 mph, with gusts of 60 to 70 mph. Rainfall total is expected to range from 4 to 8 inches, at a rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour. The storm is expected to begin exiting the region Sunday night.
Flooding is a significant concern for Dutchess County. The Ten Mile River, in eastern Dutchess, is anticipated to rise rapidly due to its valley positioning and is expected to hit moderate flood stage by noon Sunday. The Wappinger Creek is expected to reach moderate flood stage overnight on Sunday into Monday morning. Residents who are prone to flooding from those areas are advised to prepare for flooding conditions. Importantly, those in the immediate area of the Ten Mile River should consider alternate shelter options with family or friends tonight as the water is expected to rise very quickly in a short period of time. The American Red Cross is currently coordinating a shelter location at the Taconic DDSO site located at 26 Center Circle in Wassaic. The shelter is expected to be open tonight (Saturday) at 8pm. For more information regarding the Wassaic shelter, including transportation needs, please call Dawn at 845-559-4797.
American Red Cross is also currently operating an emergency shelter at the Civic Center in City of Poughkeepsie for any resident who needs overnight shelter. American Red Cross will be coordinating other shelter locations should they become necessary and several local municipalities have already announced shelter availability. Dutchess County Medical Reserve Corps volunteers will be assisting the Red Cross with staffing for shelter operations. The most up to date information about American Red Cross shelters is available by calling the United Way’s 2-1-1 information line or 471-1900.
All residents should be prepared for storm impacts including flooding and power outages. Central Hudson officials have geared up for the storm, with additional utility crews from as far away as Kansas being mobilized. Hurricane Irene will have a multi-region, multi-state impact. Residents should be prepared for a multi-day event as emergency response, public works and utility crews will be strained.
Residents are also reminded to call 9-1-1 ONLY in the event of an emergency. Storm information including reports of power outages, shelter information, dry ice inquiries and other storm related questions should be directed to 2-1-1 or local media and utility websites. Information will also be available on the County’s social media pages including Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dutchess-County-Government/73646813346 and Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/DutchessCoGov.
Residents should be ready 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.
Prepare for flooding conditions:
If Flood Conditions Do Occur:
Travel With Care:
For complete checklists for emergency planning, including specific tips for preparing for storms, flooding, hurricanes and evacuations, visit the county’s website at www.dutchessny.gov and click on the Emergency Preparedness tab under Quick Links on the right side.
Dutchess County parks, including Bowdoin Park in Poughkeepsie and Wilcox Park in Milan, will be closed as of 6pm today and will not reopen until Monday, August 29th.
There will be no Dutchess County LOOP system RAIL LINK service on Monday, August 29th at the request of Metro North, due to anticipated disruptions to normal rail service schedules.
County Executive Steinhaus concluded, “It is important residents take this storm seriously and take all necessary precautions to ensure their families’ safety.”
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