Storm preparations: Sullivan County

Sullivan County manager David Fanslau posted a statement about preparations for Hurricane Sandy on the county's website Friday morning:

(Monticello, NY 12:00pm) – Sullivan County Manager David Fanslau issued the following statement:  “The National Weather Service (NWS) in Binghamton has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for Sullivan County.  Hurricane Sandy will move north along the Eastern Seaboard over the weekend.  This powerful storm may ultimately impact the Northeast with the potential for locally heavy rainfall and high winds beginning on Monday and continuing through midweek.  Significant uncertainty exists with the track of this system.  Sullivan County officials will continue to closely follow forecasts from the NWS and the National Hurricane Center.  This storm could potentially be a “historic event” with winds and water.

I held a meeting at 8:00 AM Friday morning with our Public Safety and Public Works management personnel to implement our Flood procedure, preparation, and response protocol that was established in 2009, as a result of our Flood Procedure, Preparation, and Response Task Force work.  Specifically, the Acting Commissioner of the Division of Public Works, Ed McAndrew, was directed to implement the procedures for a Pre-Storm event, which addresses four (4) main areas:  Infrastructure, equipment, materials, and personnel.

Most of the pre-storm infrastructure work is related to drainage structures.  In preparation for a heavy rain event, the Division clears pipes and catch basins of any accumulated debris. This enables the drainage structures to convey their full hydraulic capacity.  In addition, attention is given to pipe outlets to make sure they are free of obstructions; ensuring water can be conveyed away from the structure.  As time allows, ditches are cleaned and shoulders trimmed to allow storm water to freely drain from the highway surface. (This is usually handled as part of our routine maintenance/preventative measures above.)

The Director of Purchasing has been requested to prepare for potential emergency procurement of any needed materials such as mass rock and surge stone from local vendors.

The Division of Public Works has staged various equipment throughout the County to enable a more rapid response should flooding occur.

DPW crews are attending to the areas that are usually prone to flooding today.  Public Safety and Public Works Personnel will be called in as needed to address preparation for the storm and storm impacts over the weekend and throughout the storm event.

Yesterday, Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther hosted a meeting for County and local officials with State Emergency Management, Transportation Department, and Environmental Conservation Department officials.  The State officials offered assistance with preparations concerning permits, equipment, and other resources.

Do not drive your vehicle into areas where the water covers the roadway.  The water depth may be too great to allow your car to cross safely, move to higher ground. Even after the rain has ended over an area, runoff will continue flooding of small streams.

I strongly encourage residents to sign up for NY Alert by visiting the website  or if they do not have internet capability they may call 1-888-697-6972 and register their phone number(s) to receive priority messages.  The NY Alert system will be a primary notification to residents of imminent flooding or other emergency instructions associated with this storm.

-Only call 9-1-1 if you are having a life threatening emergency -Have phone numbers on hand for your local utility companies to report service outages or learn restoration times-Information on road closures and other storm related material will be available  at 2-1-1 for any non-emergency referrals and assistance (ie: Shelters, road closures, recovery assistance, etc.)

 If you are in an area that becomes part of a flood watch or warning, move to higher ground immediately.  Residents living along streams and creeks should take immediate precautions to protect life and property. Do not attempt to cross swiftly flowing waters or waters of unknown depth by foot or by automobile.  Do not underestimate the power of flood waters. Only a few inches of rapidly flowing water can quickly carry away your vehicle.  Do not move barricades, nor drive around barricades, as serious danger is ahead.

I strongly urge any resident who lives near a stream, creek or river to be prepared and alert as this storm progresses, and to take preventative measures to protect their property through sandbags, etc. Outdoor, moveable property should be secured, and indoor property should be put up in case of flooding in the home. Furthermore, in case of emergency, all residents in these areas should make preparations to vacate their home if conditions warrant, and are strongly urged to comply with any and all reasonable requests from law enforcement or emergency responders during an emergency.

County residents, particularly those in flood-prone areas, are also urged to have enough flashlights and extra batteries, canned goods and bottled water for 48 hours, in case of power outage or emergency. Residents are encouraged to make arrangements to check on elderly neighbors, and arrange for pets to be housed either inside, or with proper shelter.

During the storm all County residents are urged to remain indoors and off roadways whenever possible. If residents must drive, they are advised to exercise extreme caution when driving through this storm, and to pay special attention not to drive through pooling or standing water. If there are flood conditions on a roadway, please do not travel through the water.

Sullivan County officials will be in contact with all towns, village and fire departments in the flood-prone areas, to ensure all precautionary measures are being taken, and implementing contingency plans in case of flooding. County officials will remain in contact with these towns, village and volunteer first-responders throughout the storm, as they monitor the situations in their own communities.

Should flooding occur in Sullivan County, residents and visitors are urged to visit the County website,, for current news and information.

Fanslau is also on Twitter: @CntyMgrFanslau.