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News Release    

December 12, 2008      

For Further Information Contact:
William R. Steinhaus, County Executive
(845) 486-2000

Residents Urged to Follow Safety Warnings when dealing with Power Outages & Flooding

Poughkeepsie… Much of Dutchess County has been impacted by the winter storm that started on Wednesday.    Thousands of homes are currently without power and heavy rain fall has caused flooding and excessive water on some roadways.    Temperatures are expected to drop below freezing by 5 p.m. today and water will quickly turn to ice, creating additional hazards for residents.   Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus is encouraging all county residents to take the appropriate safety precautions.

“Many of our residents have felt the negative effects of this storm.   Power outages and flooding are affecting people across the County,” said County Executive Steinhaus.    “It is so important that residents follow all safety precautions to ensure the safety of them and their families. ”

Residents who have lost power as a result of storm may look for alternate sources of heat or may utilize generators to power their home.   The Department of Emergency Response cautions residents to follow safety rules to ensure the well-being of families.   Carbon monoxide poisoning claims lives every year.   The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning increases during the winter as use of furnaces, space heaters and fireplaces increases.   Residents can protect themselves and their families against carbon monoxide with these tips:

  • Do not operate generators indoors; the motor emits deadly carbon monoxide gas.
  • Do not use charcoal to cook indoors. It, too, can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide gas.
  • Do not use your gas oven to heat your home -- prolonged use of an open oven in a closed house can create carbon monoxide gas.
  • Make sure fuel space heaters are used with proper ventilation – open a window slightly.
  • Be alert for carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms including sleepiness, headaches and dizziness.  If you suspect CO poisoning, ventilate area and get to hospital as soon as possible.

Dutchess County has seen 2.66 inches of rain in the past 24 hours.    Flooding can occur as streams and rivers overflow their banks, when dams or levees break, with run-off from deep snow cover, or any time there is rainfall with significant duration and intensity.  The Department of Emergency Response has provided the following  Important Things to Know about Flood Safety:

  1. Flash floods can come rapidly and unexpectedly. They can occur within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall, or when a dam or levee fails and even a sudden release of water held by an ice or debris jam.  You may not have warning that a flash flood is approaching.
  2. Do not drive unless absolutely necessary.
  3. Do not drive through flooded areas. If you see a flooded-out road ahead, turn around. Find another route to your destination.
  4. If there is no other route, get to higher ground and wait for the waters to subside.
  5. Even if the water appears shallow enough to cross, don't try it. Water hides dips in the road. Worse yet, there may be no road at all under the water. Flooding can scour away the entire road surface and a significant amount of ground beneath.
  6. If your car stalls, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.
  7. Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control or possible stalling.
  8. One foot of water will float almost many vehicles.
  9. Two feet of rushing water can sweep away most vehicles — including SUVs and pick-ups.


Sources: FEMA.gov, NOAA.gov



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Last Updated: 12/15/2008