New York Gov. George E. Pataki has declared a State Disaster Emergency for 14 counties and contiguous areas that suffered damages from last weekend’s storms and record or near-record levels of flooding. Counties included in the declaration are: Broome, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Greene, Montgomery, Orange, Otsego, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Schoharie, Sullivan, Tioga and Ulster.
“We will continue to do everything possible to get the assistance to the people and the communities that need it the most,” the Governor said. “Yesterday (earlier in the week) I directed Jim Tuffey, director of SEMO, to ask FEMA to provide the personnel necessary to conduct a joint damage assessment with State inspectors.”
State inspectors from the State Emergency Management Office were in the field this week and more were expected to spread throughout the impacted areas with their counterparts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to determine the impact the storms and flooding had on individuals and communities in the impacted areas.
“We had to wait until the waters receded to get a good accurate picture of the extent of the damages incurred,” Tuffey said. “Under the Governor’s leadership, we will continue working with local governments to help them get back on their feet and on the road to recovery.”
On Saturday, the Governor directed the implementation of the State Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan to coordinate State agencies’ response to assist local governments and to help those affected local governments and individuals in responding to and recovering from this disaster. The Governor designated SEMO Tuffey as the State coordinating officer.
The State Emergency Coordination Center in Albany was staffed by State agencies response personnel on Saturday and worked around the clock throughout the weekend as the storm pounded the State with seemingly never-ending rains. Rainfall amounts across the State were generally 1-3 inches, with higher totals of 2-4 inches in western regions of the State and 3-6 inches recorded in the Catskills.
SEMO conducted conference calls with New York City and the 57 counties of the State throughout the weekend, ensuring that crucial weather-related data and information on the appropriate response activities was available.
Hundreds of residents were forced from their homes by rising floodwaters as rain-swollen creeks and rivers went over their banks. Roads were closed and State response personnel from the State Police and the Department of Transportation worked in unison with local responders in effecting evacuations and road closures and conducting traffic control to keep people out of harm’s way.
The New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing in Westhampton, Long Island, conducted a rescue mission to save five people who were stranded on Mashipacong Island in the Delaware Water Gap by rising flooding waters. Working in concert with the New York State Police’s Aviation Unit, six individuals were brought to safety in the mission over the weekend.
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