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The New York City Emergency Management Department (NYCEM) placed New York City communities under an advisory to elevate their readiness levels in anticipation of potential coastal flooding and hazardous beach conditions slated for Friday, September 15, to Sunday, September 17 due to effects from the distant Hurricane Lee. The agency strongly urges New Yorkers—particularly those residing or operating businesses in coastal areas—to remain alert and take preparedness actions.
The agency is actively collaborating with the National Weather Service and monitoring the latest forecasts, particularly the potential for coastal flooding and dangerous beach conditions. A Coastal Flood Advisory is in effect for southern Queens valid 6 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Sunday. Coastal Flood Statements are in effect for the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island, and northern Queens valid 6 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Sunday. Jamaica Bay may see inundation levels of 1 to 2 feet above normally dry ground during three high tide cycles Friday night to early Sunday morning. The north shore of the Rockaways faces heightened vulnerability due to winds gusting up to 35 mph out of the north. Elsewhere, inundation levels of up to 1 foot are possible during the three high tide cycles. Roads, parking lots, and properties in low-lying areas near the shoreline will likely experience minor flooding. Additionally, dangerous conditions are expected at Atlantic-facing beaches. Large breaking waves of 6 to 10 feet may cause dune and beach erosion. There is also a high risk of life-threatening rip currents through at least Saturday evening.
To ensure real-time awareness and a coordinated response, NYCEM is organizing specialized interagency briefings to keep essential stakeholders well-informed of emerging risks, fine-tune operational strategies specific to coastal flooding, and reinforcing its readiness for scaled-up emergency responses should conditions warrant. Critical assets and specialized units are on standby prepared for activation as conditions necessitate.
“For New Yorkers in our coastal communities, consider this a reminder to be prepared, particularly during hurricane season,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol. “Challenges are a part of life in our great city, and the best way to meet them is through proactive preparedness. Now’s a good time to check your emergency plans, help out your neighbors, and stay updated via Notify NYC.”
“While City beaches have closed to swimming for the season, they do remain open to surfers, and we are advising caution when entering the water this weekend,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “Despite being some of the strongest swimmers in the city, we are urging surfers to be aware of the high rip current risk as we experience the aftereffects of Hurricane Lee.”
NYCEM recommends the following preparedness actions for New Yorkers for those in coastal flood-prone regions and low-lying areas:
- Communication and Information: Before and during an emergency, the City will send emergency alerts through various channels, including Notify NYC, available in 13 different languages, with a special sub-group dedicated to Basement Apartment Dwellers. Register at NYC.gov/NotifyNYC or dial 311. Keep a battery-powered radio ready for timely updates, particularly if power outages are expected.
- Gather Supplies: Every household member should have a Go Bag packed with essential items, such as bottled water, non-perishable food, and basic medical supplies.
- Tidal Awareness and Coastal Barriers: Monitor tide tables and storm surge forecasts. Know when high tides are expected in your vicinity and be prepared to adjust your plans. Where feasible, deploy sandbags or other deployables suitable for a residence to reduce the risk of tidal water intrusion.
- Watercraft and Boat Security: If you own boats or watercraft, secure or relocate them immediately. Fluctuating tides can not only carry them away but loose watercraft can cause additional damage.
- Storm Drains and Local Warnings: Regularly check and clear any nearby storm drains to help manage water runoff and lessen the chances of localized flooding. Pay attention to localized warnings, especially those pertaining to rip currents and high waves.
- Beach Closures and Coastal Roads: Remain updated on any beach closures, as flooding can swiftly make these areas hazardous. Beaches are closed to swimming. Plan alternative travel routes to avoid low-lying coastal roads that may be susceptible to flooding.
- Home Safety and Utility Measures: Ensure your home’s sump pumps are operational and familiarize yourself with how to safely shut off utilities like gas, water, and electricity. If you reside in a basement or below-grade apartment, be particularly vigilant, as these areas are more susceptible to flooding. Follow City guidance for additional actions specific to below-grade dwellings. Subscribe to Notify NYC’s Basement Apartment Dweller subgroup for key alerts.
- Document & Insurance Review: Secure essential documents in waterproof containers and maintain digital backups. Review your insurance to ensure you have specialized flood coverage, as standard policies often don’t cover flood and wind damage. Consider enrolling in the National Flood Insurance Program. Learn more at www.floodsmart.gov.
- Prepare for Outages: To gear up for potential power disruptions, keep your cell phones charged, stock up on supplies. If power outages are predicted, consider adjusting your refrigerator and freezer to colder settings to extend the shelf life of perishable items. Ensure that flashlights and battery-operated radios or TVs are functional, keeping extra batteries on hand. If you rely on Life Sustaining Equipment (LSE) and lose power, dial 911 for immediate assistance, and remember never to use generators indoors. Check on vulnerable individuals in your community, such as older adults and people with disabilities or health conditions, and assist them in their preparations.
- Pet Safety: Make provisions for your pets’ safety, including the need to leave your home and to take your pet with you.
- Plan for Special Needs & Check on Your Neighbors: Make it a point to check on neighbors who are older adults or who may require special assistance. If you have a disability or specific access and functional needs, make sure your emergency plan accounts for how these factors could impact your ability to respond quickly and communicate effectively during a crisis. Seek assistance from your family or service providers as needed.
- Avoidance and Caution: Do not venture into flooded areas. These zones may be contaminated or electrically charged. Take preemptive action by assembling a Go Bag with essentials like food, water, and first-aid supplies.
- Documentation: When it’s safe, contribute to our collective flood risk understanding by capturing and submitting photos via the MyCoast portal (https://mycoast.org/ny) or the MyCoast app. Don’t forget to also file flood reports through 311.
- Real-Time Awareness: Stay updated on changing flood conditions by monitoring real-time flood depth via the FloodNet website (https://www.floodnet.nyc/).
NYCEM will continue to provide New Yorkers with the most current information and guidelines as conditions develop.
For more safety tips, visit NYC.gov/SevereWeather. Before and during an emergency, the City will send emergency alerts and updates to New Yorkers through various channels including Notify NYC, the City’s free emergency notification system. Through Notify NYC, New Yorkers can receive phone calls, text messages, and/or emails alerts about traffic and transit disruptions and other emergencies. Sign up for Notify NYC to receive free emergency alerts and updates in your preferred language by visiting NYC.gov/NotifyNYC, calling 311 (212-639-9675 for Video Relay Service, or TTY: 212-504-4115), following @NotifyNYC on Twitter, or getting the free Notify NYC mobile application for your Apple or Android device.