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News Release    

March 7, 2008      

For Futher Information, Contact:
John Murphy, Emergency Response Coordinator
(8450 486-2080

Dutchess County Braced for Potential Flooding
Second storm in a week could result in flood conditions

Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus is advising Dutchess County residents to prepare for potentially significant flooding associated with the rain event forecasted to hit the area this weekend.     County Executive Steinhaus has directed the Dutchess County Department of Emergency Response to coordinate efforts with New York State Emergency Management Office (SEMO), Dutchess County Sheriff, American Red Cross of Dutchess County, New York State Police, Dutchess County Department of Public Works, Dutchess County Soil & Water Conservation District, local emergency responders and municipal officials to monitor the storm and work to minimize negative impacts to residents.   Public safety is the first and foremost priority of all efforts.

According to the National Weather Service (Albany office), a flood watch is in effect for Dutchess County from late tonight through late Saturday night.  Heavy rainfall falling on saturated ground along with high river flows from prior significant rainfall could produce flooding in areas of the county.   Rainfall amounts ranging from 1 to 3 inches are expected Friday evening through late Saturday night, with the heaviest rainfall expected to fall during the day and into the evening on Saturday.     Periods of heavy rain and possibly thunderstorms could result in isolated flash flooding.   Urban and small stream flooding is also possible.    Saturday night into Sunday, winds are predicted to range from 20 mph to 35 mph, with some gusts up to 50 mph.

County Executive Steinhaus said, “We are reaching out to residents, local municipalities and emergency responders to ensure everyone is taking the proper precautions to minimize adverse impacts from the storm.  The County is taking steps to prepare for the storm and residents should do so as well.  We are particularly concerned that if flooding does occur, it will most likely happen in the overnight hours on Saturday after people have headed to bed.  Residents need to be aware and prepare in advance.”

DC Emergency Response officials have been working with local and state officials in preparation for the storm including the following action steps:

  • Multiple daily update conferences with SEMO officials.
  • SEMO has stationed possible needed equipment at the Dutchess County Emergency Training Center to serve the ten counties of Region 2 in anticipation of potential flooding.
  • Additional staffing will be brought in to the 911 Dispatch Center to handle increased call volume.
  • Dutchess County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) have been notified of the potential for deployment.    
  • Emergency Response officials have also been in communication with local municipal leaders as well as the Dutchess County Chapter of the American Red Cross.  
  • The Dutchess County Emergency Command Center will be activated on Saturday morning to monitor the storm and coordinate activities.

Emergency Response Coordinator John Murphy said, “Local emergency responders are bracing for a high volume of calls.    Obviously, situations involving life safety and building structure stability will be given top priority.   Your local fire department will try to respond as quickly as possible to assist with flooded basements, cellars, etc, but they may need to focus their efforts on the most critical areas first before they can respond to your home.”

County Executive Steinhaus advises residents to act now to be prepared in the event flooding conditions do occur.   The following are tips to help prepare for floods:

  • Know the safest route from your home or business to high, safe ground if it necessary to leave in a hurry.
  • Have a 'family escape' plan and identify a meeting place if family members become separated.
  • Make an itemized list of all valuables including furnishings, clothing and other personal property. Keep the list in a safe place.
  • Plan what to do with your pets. 
  • Have a portable radio, flashlights, extra batteries and emergency cooking equipment available.
  • Keep your automobile fueled. If electric power is cut off, gasoline stations may not be able to pump fuel for several days. Have a small disaster supply kit in the trunk of your car.
  • Find out how many feet your property is above and below possible flood levels. When predicted flood levels are broadcast, you can determine if you may be flooded.
  • Keep materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber handy for emergency water-proofing.

If Flood Conditions Do Occur:

  • If local officials advise evacuation, do so promptly.
  • If directed to a specific location, go there.
  • Know where the shelters are located.
  • Bring outside possessions inside the house or tie them down securely. This includes lawn furniture, garbage cans, and other movable objects.
  • If there is time, move essential items and furniture to upper floors in the house. Disconnect electrical appliances that cannot be moved. DO NOT touch them if you are wet or standing in water. 
  • If you are told to shut off water, gas, or electrical services before leaving, do so.
  • Secure your home: lock all doors and windows.

Travel With Care:

  • Leave early to avoid being marooned on flooded roads.
  • Make sure you have enough fuel for your car.
  • Follow recommended routes. DO NOT sightsee.
  • As you travel, monitor NOAA Weather Radio and local radio broadcasts for the latest information.
  • Watch for washed-out roads, earth-slides, broken water or sewer mains, loose or downed electrical wires, and falling or fallen objects. 
  • Watch for areas where rivers or streams may suddenly rise and flood, such as highway dips, bridges, and low areas.
  • DO NOT attempt to drive over a flooded road. Turn around and go another way.
  • DO NOT underestimate the destructive power of fast-moving water. Two feet of fast-moving flood water will float your car. Water moving at two miles per hour can sweep cars off a road or bridge.
  • If you are in your car and water begins to rise rapidly around you, abandon the vehicle immediately.

A complete checklist with travel tips, flood prevention tips and how to deal with flooding is available on the Department of Emergency’s Response webpage at

Residents can log on for the most up-to-date weather information and advisories from the Albany office of the National Weather Service.

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