Governor Andrew Cuomo just declared a state of emergency in New York as the region braces for the impact of Hurricane Sandy early next week. The move allows Cuomo to coordinate the emergency response effort.
In a long press release from Cuomo's office about storm preparations, some details about the Catskills stand out. The New York Power Authority has lowered its water level at its Blenheim-Gilboa reservoir to its minimum depth in an attempt to control flooding downstream. And the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation are working together to coodinate an emergency drawdown of the Schoharie Reservoir and the Ashokan Reservoir in an attempt to ease pressure on the Gilboa Dam in Schoharie County.
Here's the info from Cuomo's press release:
New York Power Authority (NYPA): The water level of the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project’s lower reservoir on the Schoharie Creek has been lowered to the minimum depth as a precaution against flood conditions. NYPA has also released water to lower the level of the Hinckley Reservoir where it operates a small-hydro facility to create additional storage capacity.
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is working closely with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection to lower the water level in the Schoharie and Ashokan reservoirs to prevent flooding in Schoharie and the Catskills. DEC has authorized an emergency drawdown of the Schoharie Reservoir at a rate of approximately 600 million gallons per day. Lowering the water level can reduce the amount of water that may spill over the top of the Gilboa dam and flow downstream into the Schoharie Creek. This release will assist in creating a void space in the Schoharie Reservoir. Waters drained from the Schoharie is diverted to flow through the Shandaken Tunnel to the Esopus Creek then into the Ashokan Reservoir. DEC has authorized releases from the Ashokan Reservoir at a rate of 600 million gallons per day to facilitate a reduction in peak storm flows through maximization of reservoir storage capacity. These releases will be terminated at the onset of storm precipitation or if any flood risk arises based on monitored stream gauges.
Also, in a delicious irony, the Governor's conference on emergency preparedness, which was scheduled for Monday, has been postponed.