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Westchester County Urges Residents to be Prepared for Severe Weather

RALLY HONORING BLACK LIVES LOST - POSTPONED

Tropical Storm Fay announced her imminent arrival Friday with a heavy rain that lashed New York City and the surrounding region — prompting Gov. Cuomo to issue a warning about possible flash flooding.

“I am deploying state personnel and resources to communities across the state to ensure they have the support they need to respond to anything Mother Nature may throw our way,” Cuomo said in a statement as Fay began to unfurl.

Here in Westchester County, TROPICAL STORM WARNING has been issued for Southern Westchester. Spotty morning showers will give way to breezy conditions in the afternoon with tropical downpours and isolated severe thunderstorms. Damaging wind gusts and a weak tornado cannot be ruled out. Highs around 78. Humid. WIND: ESE 15-30 MPH (afternoon and evening) Some gusts may exceed 40 MPH in Southern Westchester. 1 to 4 inches of rain possible through tonight. Watch for flooded roads. Minor Coastal Flooding is possible this afternoon of around one foot or less of inundation. Stay with News 12, the News 12 APP and News12.com for updates.

With Tropical Storm Fay on its way, Westchester County is reminding residents to review their emergency plans and stock up on necessary supplies so they are prepared during hurricane season.

“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a shortage of various items in our stores in recent months. I am once again urging our residents to replenish those supplies in case they have to shelter-in-place without power or evacuate their home on short notice,” County Executive George Latimer said. “Severe storms can occur at any time.”

CE Latimer said residents should have several days’ worth of food, water, medicine and other critical supplies like flashlights and batteries on hand in the event they are stuck in their homes due to flooding or a power outage.

He also directed all County government departments to assess their preparedness for severe weather and coastal storms. 

Commissioner John M. Cullen of the Department of Emergency Services (DES) said hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30. He recommended that people create a disaster preparedness kit that includes: one gallon of water per person per day; a three-day supply of canned, packaged or other foods that do not need refrigeration or need to be cooked; a manual can opener and eating utensils; flashlights and batteries; a first aid kit; and a battery-powered or hand-crank radio.

Foods that can be stored include ready-to-eat canned meats and fish; protein or fruit bars; dry cereal and granola; peanut butter; nuts; crackers and canned fruit juice.

Cullen said residents can do the following to enhance their preparedness:

  • Make a plan
    • Begin by creating a personal support network and developing a communications plan with friends and family.  Put the plan in writing and share it. Consider the needs of pets or service animals.
  • Build a kit
    • Ensure that your kit has all the items you may need if asked to evacuate or shelter-in-place.
    • If you already have an emergency preparedness kit or go-bag, be sure to check expiration dates and re-stock as needed, including medications and food products. Have copies of important documents.
  • Be informed
    • Know the hazards to which your community is most vulnerable and take steps to mitigate damage to your property in advance.  
    • Know how you can access official information and instructions in an emergency, such as official websites and social media accounts as well as traditional media outlets.  
  • Get involved
    • Before disaster strikes consider volunteering for the County Medical Reserve Corps, your local Community Emergency Response Team or the American Red Cross.
    • In an emergency; remember family, friends and neighbors who may need additional assistance, such as older adults or someone with a disability.

Sherlita Amler, MD, commissioner of the Department of Health, said food safety and generator safety are essential during any power outage or emergency.

If you lose power, she said here’s how to ensure you feed your family safely:

  • Keep your refrigerator closed as much as possible. Do not assume refrigerated foods are safe. If food is still fully frozen, it is safe to use.
  • Foods that have warmed to room temperature for more than two hours or have come into contact with flood waters should be discarded. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • During a prolonged outage, these foods are potentially hazardous if not stored below 45 degrees Fahrenheit and should be discarded: meat, poultry, seafood, cold cuts, hot dogs, eggs, cream, sour cream, yogurt, milk, custards, puddings, soft and shredded cheeses, cut fruit, cooked vegetables, pasta, casseroles, unbaked cookie and bread dough, gravy, creamy salad dressings, fish sauces, hoisin sauce, opened spaghetti sauce and garlic in oil.
  • After disposing of spoiled food, disinfect the refrigerator to avoid further contamination.
  • Discard any cans of food that are rusted, dented or opened.
  • If appliances are wet, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. Then, unplug appliances and let them dry out. Have appliances checked by a professional before using them again.
  • Storm clean-up can produce a great deal of garbage, which invites insects and rodents. Store your garbage in watertight, rodent/insect-proof containers with tight-fitting covers.

Residents and business owners with generators are reminded of the following safety tips:

  • Never run a generator in a basement, garage, porch or carport. Generators produce carbon monoxide that can quickly be lethal indoors.  Only operate a generator outdoors and away from open windows.
  • Do not exceed the rated capacity of your generator. Overloading your generator can damage it and any appliances connected to it. Fire may result.
  • If your generator has a detachable fuel tank, remove it before refilling. If this is not possible, shut off the generator and let it cool before refilling.

If you lose power, call Con Edison or NYS Electric and Gas directly. The phone numbers are: Con Ed power outage or gas and electrical service problems: (800) 75-CONED; NYSEG electricity power outage: (800) 572-1131; NYSEG gas power outage: (800) 572-1121.    

Other practical tips and guidance can be found at: http://keepingsafe.westchestergov.com/be-prepared and www.ready.gov.


RALLY HONORING BLACK LIVES LOST – POSTPONED

In related news, due to Tropical Storm Fay, the Rally Honoring Black Lives Lost scheduled for Friday afternoon in White Plains at the Westchester County Courthouse (111 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd) has been postponed.

“Due to severe weather & the likelihood of lightning our HONORING BLACK LIVES LOST event will be postponed until a later date,” Kenneth Chamberlain Jr., shared with Black Westchester. “The safety of all attendees is our number one priority. The Westchester Coalition for Police Reform sincerely apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and look forward to giving you our new date very soon.”

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About AJ Woodson (2279 Articles)
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company. AJ is a Father, Brother, Author, Writer, Journalism Fellow, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.
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