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New York Severe Weather Awareness Week

Monday April 29th, 2013

This is the first of a six part series on severe weather safety which will run each day during New York's Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared this week, April 28th through May 4th, Severe Weather Awareness Week in New York. NOAA's National Weather Service joins Governor Cuomo in partnership with the agencies of the New York state disaster preparedness commission, local agencies, volunteer agencies, and private sector organizations in urging all residents to learn how to protect themselves from the hazards of flooding, tornadoes, and severe thunderstorms.

Over the last 20 years severe weather, not including floods, has killed nearly 50 people in New York and caused over one quarter of a billion dollars in damage. On average, the National Weather Service issues 400 severe thunderstorm warnings, 17 tornado warnings and about 150 flash flood warnings each year in New York state. To reduce your chances of being killed or injured by severe weather, it is important to understand the meaning of severe weather watches and warnings.

Severe thunderstorms are defined as those thunderstorms that produce winds of 58 mph or greater and or hail of one inch in diameter or larger.
  • A Severe Thunderstorm Watch means that severe thunderstorms are possible over the next several hours, typically no more than six hours. You should continue with your daily routine, but be prepared to move to a place of safety should a Severe Thunderstorm Warning be issued.
  • A Severe Thunderstorm Warning means that severe thunderstorms are imminent or occuring. A warning implies a significant threat to life and property. You should seek shelter immediately when a severe thunderstorm warning is issued.

Tornadoes are violently rotating columns of air in contact with the ground and attached to the cloud base above. Like a Severe Thunderstorm Watch,
  • A Tornado Watch means that tornadoes are possible over the next several hours, again usually no more than six hours.
  • A Tornado Warning means that a tornado is imminent or occurring. A tornado warning implies an immediate threat to life and property. Take shelter immediately!

Flash Flooding is a rapid rise, within six hours, of water along a stream or low lying urban area. The most common cause of flash flooding is heavy downpours associated with thunderstorms.
  • A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions are favorable for flash flooding. continue with your daily activities, but be prepared to head to a place of safety should a flash flood warning be issued.
  • A Flash Flood Warning means that flooding is imminent or occurring. Flood waters can rise rapidly. seek shelter immediately when a Flash Flood Warning is issued.

NOAA Weather Radio offers the best way to stay in touch with dangerous weather conditions 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, whether at home, work or play. NOAA Weather Radio provides continuous broadcasts of weather information, with immediate relay of any severe weather warnings. NOAA's National Weather Service recommends everyone have access to a NOAA Weather Radio.

The weather safety topics for the remainder of the week will be as follows:
  • Tuesday, severe thunderstorms.
  • Wednesday, severe weather preparedness and safety.
  • Thursday, tornadoes.
  • Friday, flooding.
  • Saturday, communications.

For more information on weather hazards awareness week, please visit:
NWS Binghamton, NY Preparedness
You can also contact:
David Nicosia
Warning Coordination Meteorologist for NOAA's National Weather Service
Binghamton, NY 13290
Phone: 607-770-9531 x 223

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Page last modified: April 26, 2012