Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hurricane Irene Advisory # 1

Good evening,
We've all been watching Irene develop over the last few days, and we will continue to watch her over the next few. It is certainly not too early to make preparations, even though the exact track of the storm is yet to be determined. Here are some relevant points to consider:

Current local conditions:
Our rainfall total for August is already more than 1 1/2 inches greater than in the historical normal for August.
The overall level of the NYC reservoir system is about 9% above normal for this time of year. Currently the Ashokan is at 94% of capacity and the Rondout is at 97% of capacity.

On Thursday we are looking for an additional 1/2" of rain (more in thunderstorms). This will add to the already high August rainfall total.
For most of the day models were taking the track of the storm slightly off the coast (the farther off shore the less impact on inland areas like Ulster). However, the latest models are moving the storm slightly westward. This will be a moving target throughout the event.
The exact track will determine the amount of rainfall and severity of the winds. Keep in mind the most severe winds are found in the northeast quadrant of a hurricane.
The National Weather Service office in Albany warns of a potential 5" of rain in the eastern areas of their coverage area (the far eastern region for them is Litchfield Connecticut). NWS Binghamton warns the greatest impact for their region will be the Poconos and Catskills. NWS Upton is deferring to the National Hurricane Center which hasn't projected storm totals for our area yet.
Flooding and power outages are the most likely hazards we will be faced with.

Storm preparations & Tips:
Subscribe to NY Alert ( to get the latest watches and warnings direct from the National Weather Service.
Have a family disaster plan.
Be especially conscious to look out for the elderly, disabled and children.
Have a plan for your pets (pets are not allowed in general population shelters).
Be prepared for extended power outages. Have a supply of batteries, a battery operated radio, and flashlights (avoid the use of candles whenever possible due to the fire hazard).
Have enough potable water for each person (one gallon per person, per day).
Have a quantity of nonperishable food (and a manual can opener).
Have a first aid kit and extra medications on hand.
Have a small quantity of cash on hand in case ATM machines are without power.
Heed all official warnings including orders to evacuate.
Never drive through flooded roadways - Turn Around, Don't Drown!
Consider all down wires to be energized.
Never run a generator or charcoal cooking appliance indoors (great danger of carbon monoxide poisoning).
The Red Cross is developing sheltering plans that will be finalized as the exact strike area is more clearly identified. Please keep in mind the wide area of impact will affect the availability of all resources - Red Cross, utilities, etc.
Follow the advice of - Get a Kit, Make a Plan, Be Informed.

The caveat, as all forecasters will say, is the exact track of the storm may very well change over the next few days which will affect the amount of precipitation and the strength of the winds. Another update will be provided tomorrow.