Westchester County Executive George Latimer is urging residents to be prepared for possible flooding and power outrages due to the significant rain storm and high winds that will affect Westchester through Friday night.

Localized flooding is projected and could impact roadways and low-lying, flood-prone areas, particularly along the Long Island Sound shoreline, Latimer said. He also noted that high winds can topple trees and large branches on to power lines and cause widespread outages. By Friday afternoon, he said, temperatures are expected to plunge to below freezing, making travel hazardous due to the potential for icy roadways.

“Mother Nature is throwing us a curveball as we head toward Christmas weekend. The National Weather Service projects that Westchester will deal with a lot of rain and high winds, followed by a quick turnaround on Friday from unseasonably warm temperatures to sub-freezing temperatures. We face a range of hazards from rain, strong winds and low temperatures.”

Commissioner Richard G. Wishnie of the Department of Emergency Services advised residents to take some simple precautions today to prevent damage that can be caused by flooding or high winds.

He urged persons who live in flood-prone areas to move their cars to higher ground and to elevate items in their basement if it has flooded previously in significant storms. He also recommended that people secure garbage cans and other items kept in yards or on decks that might be become airborne in high winds.

County emergency management personnel recommend residents set aside several days’ worth of non-perishable food, water and medicine, and keep other critical supplies on hand like flashlights and batteries in case they are stuck in their homes without power. Residents should also have a “go-bag” ready in case they are asked to evacuate on short notice during an emergency. 

Westchester County Police will deploy additional Patrol and Emergency Service Unit officers to assist with removing downed trees on parkways and closing roads if needed due to flooding. Staff in the Office of Emergency Management at DES will be monitoring the weather and power outages, and will be providing updates and support to all municipalities in the County.

In conjunction with the Department of Emergency Services, the Department of Public Works & Transportation will be monitoring the progress of the storm and its impact. DPW&T will also have an overnight crew during the storm Thursday night and will also monitoring the road conditions for the rapid temperature drop expected Friday afternoon. Drivers are asked to consider the high possibility of black ice on roadways if they have to drive when temperatures drop. If possible, people are advised to avoid driving Friday afternoon through Saturday morning.

In the event of a power outage, the Westchester County Department of Health reminds residents to use gas-powered tools and generators outdoors only and to take care when using alternate heating sources.

Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD, said the predicted cold temperatures for Friday increase the risk of frostbite or hypothermia, particularly if power outages occur. Seniors and infants less than one year of age should never sleep in a cold room and should be dressed in warm clothing to prevent the loss of body heat. If a safe temperature cannot be maintained inside your home, make temporary arrangements to stay elsewhere.

If you lose power, call Con Edison or NYS Electric and Gas directly. The phone numbers are: Con Ed power outage or gas and electrical service problems: (800) 75-CONED; NYSEG electricity power outage: (800) 572-1131; NYSEG gas power outage: (800) 572-1121.

Practical tips on emergency readiness can be found at the Westchester County Emergency Services website or the government Ready website.