ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) – A severe weather system has been forecast to sweep across parts of the Southern Tier, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, Capital, Mid-Hudson, and North Country regions Monday, with an enhanced risk for severe thunderstorms. These storms could begin as early as late morning in the western parts of the state and are expected to move across the central and eastern parts of the state this evening.

The primary threat from these storms is wind with gusts up to 60 miles per hour, which can cause power outages and other hazardous conditions as a result of downed trees and power lines. Additional impacts from the storm could include heavy rain and flash flooding, large hail, dangerous lightning, and isolated tornadoes.

Governor Kathy Hochul urged New Yorkers to use caution and stay alert throughout the day in areas expected to be hit by severe weather, and be ready for rapidly changing conditions. “It is critical that New Yorkers use caution today and stay prepared as severe weather is likely to impact many parts of the State,” Governor Hochul said. “The storm system moving through New York has the potential to cause power outages and downed tree limbs and power lines, and I am urging anyone in the path of these storms to keep a close eye on the weather and be prepared to act quickly if severe weather strikes.”

New Yorkers are encouraged to sign up for emergency alerts by subscribing to NY Alert online. The service is free and provides critical emergency information to your cell phone or computer.

Severe weather safety tips

  • Know the county you live in and the names of nearby cities. Severe weather warnings are given on a county basis.
  • Learn the safest route from your home or business to high, safe ground in case you have to leave in a hurry.
  • Develop and practice a ‘family escape’ plan and identify a meeting place if family members become separated.
  • Make a list of all valuables including furnishing, clothing, and other property.
  • Stockpile emergency supplies of canned food, medicine, first aid supplies, and drinking water.
  • Plan what to do with your pets
  • Have a portable radio, flashlights, extra batteries, and emergency cooking equipment available.
  • Keep your car fueled or charged. If power is cut off, you might not be able to get gas for a few days.
  • Have disaster supplies on hand, including:
    • Battery-operated radio with extra batteries
    • First aid kit and manual
    • Emergency food and water
    • Non-electric can opener
    • Essential medicines
    • Checkbook, cash, credit cards, ATM card

Flash flooding

  • Never try to drive on a flooded road. Turn around and go the other way.
  • If water starts to rise around you rapidly in your car, abandon it immediately.
  • Do not underestimate the power of fast-moving water. Two feet of fast-moving water will float your car, and water moving at just two miles per hour can sweep your car off the road.

Lightning

  • Follow the 30-30 rule: If there are 30 seconds or less between lightning and thunder, the lightning could hit you.
  • Lightning hits the tallest object. If you are above a tree line, quickly get below it and crouch down if you are in an exposed area.
  • If you can’t get to shelter, stay away from trees.

Tornado

  • If outdoors and a tornado warning is issued, seek shelter immediately. If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in a ditch or low spot and cover your head.
  • If at home or in a small building, get to the lowest floor of the building and stay away from windows. Closets, bathrooms, and interior rooms are safest. Get under something sturdy or cover yourself with a mattress.
  • If in a school, hospital, or shopping center, go to a pre-designated shelter area. Stay away from large open areas and windows. Do not go outside your car.
  • If in a high-rise building, go to an interior small room or hallway on the lowest floor possible. Do not use elevators.

The storm has forced some area schools to close early or cancel after-school activities. Check out our closings and delays page for the latest. For more safety tips, visit the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Safety Tips web page.