Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene Advisory # 3

Good afternoon
Please see previous updates for still applicable storm preparation tips. Following is the latest information on preparations for Irene and forecast:

At 8 AM this morning, County Executive Michael Hein declared a state of emergency for Ulster County. This declaration allows Ulster County to take those actions necessary to protect life and property. The declaration does NOT automatically ban driving or affect other activities (although driving during the storm is strongly discouraged). Special orders MAY be issued, but this has not yet happened.
County departments are making preparations to continue their essential services in light of the hurricane and to continue to meet the needs of Ulster County residents.
Emergency service personnel continue their preparations to respond to hurricane related issues.
Shelters will be established at the following locations:
Belleayre Mtn Ski Center - will become operational at 8 PM Saturday evening
SUNY New Paltz Health and Wellness Center - will be operational at 8 PM Saturday evening
Kingston site is yet to be determined
As previously discussed, resources will be in short supply, so sheltering facilities are limited. If you plan to go to a shelter, bring your own bedding (pillow and blanket) but not your pets (general population shelters cannot accommodate pets).
While utility companies are implementation their emergency response plans, realize that many people will be without power for days.
Flooded roadways will be closed. DO NOT DRIVE THROUGH FLOODED ROADWAYS. Even after flooding subsides, highway personnel will have to check roads and bridges for structural integrity.
Specific local issues (such as the Walkway Over the Hudson) will be addressed with local officials.

Although the storm is still only moving at 14 MPH, it is expected to pick up speed and enter our area sooner than expected.
Irene is forecast to cross New York as a Category 1 hurricane. A Tropical Storm Watch and a Flood Watch have been posted for Ulster County.
Sustained winds of 30-45 MPH can be expected from about 2 AM to 7 PM Sunday with peak gusts of around 60 MPH Sunday afternoon.
Rainfall will begin by 8 PM Saturday evening and continue heavy for about 24 hours. Rains will continue during the overnight hours before tapering off early Monday. Total rainfall 4-7 inches with up to 10 inches over higher terrain.
Widespread flooding can be expected. The Upper Esopus is forecast to crest just under 15' (flood stage being 11'), the Lower Esopus at 23' (flood stage at 20'), the Rondout at 20' (flood stage at 18'). A projection for the Wallkill has not yet been issued. Additionally, I consider some of these estimates (especially the Upper Esopus) to be underdone; and the Rondout was modeled without Wallkill data.

Just because we may not be in the "cone" on a map, our area WILL feel the impacts of Irene. This is a huge storm - hundreds of miles wide - and the entire eastern seaboard from South Caroline north can expect heavy rain, wind, and if you have tidal influences a storm surge (even the Hudson will show some effects). Please prepare now and stay safe throughout the storm.