We’ve spent a lot of time this summer worrying about rain, or more precisely, the lack of rain.
Happily, a couple of good storm brought us enough precipitation for us to ease up on the water restriction implemented by the Department of Health earlier this summer.
But now, as we head into the last weeks of summer and early fall, we have another concern: too much rain.
This is the time of year when a hurricane is most likely to hit the East Coast.
Forecasters are predicting that after a year or two of relative quiet, this might be the season that once again experience a hurricane.
Indeed, it was five years ago last week that Hurricane Irene devastated our area, leaving parts of Rockland under water for days and knocking out power to millions.
It will be four years in October since Superstorm Sandy caused massive destruction up and down the East Coast.
And who can forget Hurricane Floyd in Sept., 1999, which dumped more than a foot of rain over Rockland, paralyzing the county. I have photos coaching kids in Pop Warner with a “brown grass” background due to a drought … just a month prior to Floyd.
We can’t control the weather, but we can control our response to dangerous situations like hurricanes.
We have a new weather station in Suffern thanks to an innovative partnership between the county and the state and federal governments.
This new weather station has state-of-the-art weather detection instruments that provide weather information through the bottom several miles of the atmosphere. This information allows scientists to make more accurate forecasts, including hurricane predictions.
And we are better prepared to deal with the flooding that occurs after hurricanes. We have purchased temporary flood barriers designed to protect local homes and property during periods of heavy rainfall and extreme weather events.
These temporary flood barriers can be moved from place to place and will be available to communities during this year’s hurricane season.
There are many tools available to residents to keep them informed of hazards like hurricanes. If you haven’t already, I urge you to sign up to receive emergency information at www.nyalert.gov. or by calling 1-888-697-6972.
Residents with limited mobility or those in need of more information, can contact the Rockland County Office of Fire and Emergency Services at 845-364-8800 or visit www.rocklandgov.com and select the Office of Fire & Emergency Services.
Here is some additional advice to keep safe. Let’s hope we don’t need to take these steps during this hurricane season.
- Review your household disaster plan. Know how to contact all family members at all times. Identify an out-of-town friend or family member to be the “emergency family contact.”
- Prepare an emergency phone list of people and organizations that may need to be called.
- Ensure that enough non-perishable food and water supplies are on hand. Make sure battery-operated radios and flashlights have an ample supply of batteries. Have a first aid kit and an ample supply of medicines on hand for those who require them.
- Pay attention to the news. In Rockland County radio stations that would carry emergency information include, WHUD 100.7 FM and WRCR 1300 AM.
- Know the hurricane & storm risks in your area.
- Learn your community’s warning signals and evacuation plans.
- Review safe routes inland and local sheltering plans.
- Make arrangements to relocate pets prior to a storm – most shelters do not allow pets.
- Store important documents – insurance policies, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security cards, etc. – in a waterproof container. Also, have cash (in small bills), checkbook, credit and ATM cards readily available.