Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that President Biden has approved an Emergency Disaster Declaration for New York following the devastation caused by Tropical Depression Ida and its unprecedented, historic rainfall. The counties covered by the declaration include: Bronx, Dutchess, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester.
Under an Emergency Declaration, up to $5 million in immediate federal funding is made available to impacted counties to support ongoing response and rescue operations prior to issuance of a traditional Major Disaster Declaration.
Governor Hochul also announced that at her request, FEMA will work with the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, as well as local partners to begin an expedited damage assessment process, which is required for a Major Disaster Declaration, on September 3.
At Governor Hochul’s direction, State agencies’ emergency response assets are on the ground helping local partners with cleanup and restoration efforts.
“As Downstate areas recover from this extreme weather event, I have requested and secured an Emergency Disaster Declaration from the federal government that will help provide localities with funding and relief in the initial restoration efforts. I will continue to urge the federal government to expedite the damage assessment process to provide all the federal resources available to ensure New Yorkers get what they need to recover from this historic storm,” Governor Hochul said. “We are committed to providing all the necessary resources for New Yorkers to recover from the historic, devastating flooding, and I have directed all State agencies on the ground to continue to help these impacted areas with cleanup missions.”
An Emergency Declaration can be declared for any occasion or instance in which the President determines federal assistance is needed. These declarations supplement State and local efforts in providing emergency services, such as the protection of lives, property, public health, and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in any part of the United States. The total amount authorized for a single emergency is up to $5 million. Receiving an Emergency Declaration does not preclude the state from receiving a Major Disaster Declaration.
A Major Disaster Declaration provides a wider range of federal assistance programs for individuals and public infrastructure, including funding for both emergency and permanent work. To obtain a Major Disaster Declaration, an accounting of damage is required and both the state and impacted counties each have thresholds that must be met in order to qualify for assistance. The state has an overall threshold of $30,036,058 and each county has its own threshold that must be met. State and local governments work directly with FEMA to assess damage as part of this process. At the request of Governor Hochul, these assessments will begin on September 3 and will be expedited.
The Governor is encouraging local officials in the impacted counties continue working with their County Emergency Managers to submit any resource needs directly into NY Responds, the state’s web-based system that enables both local governments and state agencies to submit and share vital emergency-related information and resource requests.
State and local first responders continue to be fully engaged in supporting local governments in storm response and cleanup operations.
Agency Response Activities
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
DHSES continues to coordinate with our partner agencies at the local, state and federal level in response efforts. The State Emergency Operations Center is active and remains engaged with state agencies involved in clean-up missions.
DHSES teams are on the ground supporting these efforts and will continue to provide additional resources to local governments and county emergency managers throughout the process.
Department of Environmental Conservation
Using unmanned aircraft systems (drones) and other technology, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Police Officers, Forest Rangers, Emergency Management experts, Spill Responders, and additional personnel continue to assess storm impacts in Ida’s wake, including potential damage to wastewater infrastructure, petroleum spills, and the integrity of dams and levees. ECOs and Rangers led dozens of swift water rescues in Westchester and Rockland counties during high water on Sept. 1 and 2, and continue to assist the NYPD with assisting residents on Staten Island.
In the wake of this devastating flooding, DEC reminds New Yorkers that if floodwaters are impacted by petroleum, chemicals, or other hazardous materials, please call DEC’s Spill hotline (1-800-457-7362) https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/87175.html.
Department of Public Service
New York’s utilities have approximately 6,000 workers available to engage in damage assessment, response, repair and restoration efforts across the State. DPS staff continues to track the utilities’ work throughout the storm restoration and will ensure utilities shift the appropriate staffing to the regions impacted the most. Today’s storm restoration focus is concentrated on the downstate regions that were most severely impacted by the storm.
NYS experienced an incident peak of 52,000 electric customer outages at 3 a.m. Thursday, and over the course of the restoration efforts, utilities have restored more than 80,000 electric customers impacted by the storm. There are currently 7,900 remaining customers without power, with the bulk of them (6,400) in Westchester County.
Department of Transportation
The State Department of Transportation is responding to the storm with more than 3,150 supervisors and operators available statewide. More than 60 state roads across the state, including all state highways in New York City, have already reopened.
As of this morning, there were nearly a dozen full or partial road closures in the Lower Hudson Valley because of flooding. These included portions of U.S. Route 9, State Route 100, and the Saw Mill River Parkway in Westchester County. There were also closures on portions of U.S. Route 9 in Dutchess County, State Route 218 in Orange County and State Route 59 in Rockland County.
DOT forces are working to clear and reopen these roads as soon as flood waters recede and are also assisting local municipalities with their recovery efforts.
There are no flood related closures on the NYS Thruway with the exception of exit 7A on I-87 northbound and southbound ramps to the Saw Mill Pwky. Thruway mainline traffic is not impacted. Thruway Maintenance crews will be out throughout the day assessing and clearing any damage caused by heavy rain and flooding.
New York State Police
NYSP continue to monitor multiple road closures in the Hudson Valley and Long Island caused by flooding. Additional personnel will be assigned to affected areas as needed. All four-wheel drive vehicles and specialty vehicles, including Utility Terrain Vehicles, are in service.
Metro-North Railroad restored service on the full length of the New Haven Line and on the Harlem Line as far as Southeast with trains operating on an enhanced weekend schedule. Service on the Hudson Line and New Canaan and Danbury Branches remain suspended.
LIRR service is running on or close to schedule. Subways are running with some delays to schedule. For real-time service updates and information, customers should check new.mta.info or use the MYmta app.
Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
PSEG-LI is using Caumsett State Historic Park and Bethpage State Park as staging areas for power restorations. Caumsett remains closed due to heavy storm damage. Park visitors should check parks.ny.gov or call their local park office for the latest updates regarding park hours, openings and closings.
Department of Financial Services
The Department of Financial Services Mobile Command Center will operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at selected locations in the State of Emergency counties affected by Tropical Depression Ida until the need for its assistance subsides. The mobile unit will provide New Yorkers with insurance information regarding policy coverage for losses and suggestions on how to document their losses and safeguard their property. Appointments are not necessary and if a person is unable to come in person they can also get assistance by calling the Department’s Disaster Hotline at 800-339-1759, daily, 8:30 am to 4:30 p.m. and by accessing the Department’s website at www.dfs.ny.gov. DFS is currently exploring to identify opportunities to expand the presence of its teams and resources in impacted locations