Press Release

For Immediate Release


Flash Flood Watch in effect for NYC on Thursday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Wind Advisory in effect for NYC on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Widespread minor to moderate coastal flooding possible in vulnerable areas

January 23, 2019 — The New York City Emergency Management Department today issued a travel advisory for Thursday, January 24. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Flash Flood Watch for New York City in effect from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation. New Yorkers should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should flash flood warnings be issued.

According to the latest NWS forecast, isolated scattered showers will move into the region Wednesday evening, becoming steadier overnight. The heaviest period of rainfall is forecast between 5 a.m. and 12 p.m. on Thursday. Rain will continue before tapering off Thursday afternoon. NWS predicts a total of an inch and a quarter to an inch and a half of rain, with isolated higher amounts possible. A slight chance of thunderstorms cannot be ruled out for Thursday.

New Yorkers should prepare for slippery road conditions, exercise caution when driving, walking, or biking, and consider taking public transportation whenever possible.

“Moderate to heavy rainfall is expected to affect Thursday morning’s commute. We advise New Yorkers to exercise caution while traveling,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito. “Allow for extra travel time, and take mass transit where possible.”

NYC Emergency Management will continue to work closely with NWS to monitor the weather. The City’s Flash Flood Emergency Plan has been activated to ensure a quick, effective, and coordinated preparation and response to any flash flood events. Flash flooding can occur with little or no warning due to the large number of paved surfaces across the city. These surfaces do not allow rainwater to be absorbed into the ground and can result in storm drains often being overwhelmed, causing localized flooding. NYC Emergency Management works closely with NYPD, FDNY, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Sanitation, Department of Transportation, Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to mitigate the impact of flash floods. These actions include pre-inspecting and clearing catch basins in vulnerable locations throughout the city. New Yorkers are encouraged to report clogged catch basins and areas of standing water to 3-1-1.

The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Advisory for New York City in effect from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday. Strong winds are in the forecast, with sustained winds between 20 mph and 30 mph and gusts up to 50 mph or higher possible. These conditions may blow down tree limbs, trees, and power lines. Scattered power outages are possible. A Wind Advisory is issued when sustained winds of 31 mph to 39 mph, or gusts of 46 mph to 57 mph are expected or occurring. Winds this strong can make driving in open areas and on elevated roads and bridges difficult for large vehicles like trucks, vans, and SUVs. Those driving are asked to use extra caution.

A Coastal Flood Advisory is also in effect from 9 a.m. through 2 p.m. Thursday for vulnerable areas near the waterfront and shorelines along southern Queens. A Coastal Flood Advisory indicates that onshore winds and tides will combine to generate flooding of low areas along the shore. Some roads and low-lying property including parking lots, parks, lawns, and homes or businesses near the waterfront will experience shallow flooding.

The National Weather Service also issued a Coastal Flood Statement for Thursday’s afternoon high tide for vulnerable areas near the waterfront and shorelines along Staten Island and Brooklyn.  A Coastal Flood Statement indicates that brief minor flooding of vulnerable locations along the waterfront and shoreline is possible.

NYC residents living in coastal areas expected to experience minor or moderate coastal flooding should take the following preparedness steps:

  • Prepare a Go Bag — a collection of things you would want if you have to leave in a hurry— for every member of your household, including pets.
  • Learn the safest route from your home or workplace to safe, high ground in case you have to evacuate. This should be part of your household emergency plan.
  • If you live in a flood-prone area, keep materials such as sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, and lumber on hand to help protect your home.
  • Stay informed. Before and during an emergency, the City will send emergency alerts and updates to New Yorkers through various channels, including Notify NYC. New Yorkers are encouraged to sign up for Notify NYC, the City’s free emergency communications program. To sign up for Notify NYC, download the free mobile application, visit, call 311, or follow @NotifyNYC on Twitter.
  • When outside, avoid walking and driving through flooded areas. As few as six inches of moving water can knock a person over. Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and possible stalling. One or two feet of water can carry away a vehicle.
  • Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
  • If you see downed electrical wires, do not go near them. Never attempt to move or touch them with any object. Be mindful that tree limbs, leaves, or water can cover downed wires from view. Always stay away from downed power lines because they could be live.
  • Report downed wires immediately. If a power line falls on your car while you are in it, stay inside the vehicle and wait for emergency personnel.

Safety Tips

  • Avoid driving, walking, or biking through flooded areas. As few as six inches of moving water can knock a person over. Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and possible stalling. One or two feet of water can carry away a vehicle.
  • Drive slowly.
  • Use major streets or highways for travel whenever possible.
  • If you are driving and begin to skid, ease your foot off the gas and steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go. Straighten the wheel when the car moves in the desired direction. If you have an anti-lock braking system (ABS), apply steady pressure to the brake pedal. Never pump the brakes on an ABS equipped vehicle.
  • Try to keep your vehicle’s gas tank as full as possible.
  • Seniors should take extra care outdoors to avoid slips and falls.
  • Have heightened awareness of cars, particularly when approaching or crossing intersections.

The Department of Buildings (DOB) has issued a weather advisory to remind property owners, contractors, and crane operators to take precautionary measures and secure their construction sites, buildings, and equipment during high winds, with forecast wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour Thursday. The department will perform random spot-check inspections of construction sites around the city. If sites are not secured, the department will take immediate enforcement action — issuing violations and Stop Work Orders, where necessary. To safeguard construction sites, builders, contractors, and developers should take all precautionary measures including but not limited to the following:

  • Tie down and secure material and loose debris at construction sites.
  • Cover electrical equipment from exposure to the weather.
  • Store loose tools, oil cans, and extra fuses in a toolbox.
  • Secure netting, scaffolding, and sidewalk sheds.
  • Suspend crane operations and secure crane equipment when wind speeds reach 30 mph or greater.
  • Suspend hoist operations and secure exterior hoists when wind speeds reach 35 mph or greater, unless manufacturer specifications state otherwise.
  • Brace and secure construction fences.
  • Call 911 if there is an emergency on a construction site.

Buildings Bulletin 2015-029 outlines the requirements for vertical netting, debris netting and material-fall protection devices at buildings and construction sites. To view this bulletin, click here.

To secure a building, property owners should take all precautionary measures including but not limited to the following:

  • Bring inside loose, lightweight objects such as lawn furniture, potted plants, garbage cans, garden tools, and toys.
  • Anchor objects that would be unsafe outside, such as gas grills or propane tanks.
  • Close up and secure patio umbrellas.
  • Secure retractable awnings.
  • Remove aerial antennas and satellite television dishes.
  • Pay attention to local weather forecasts and bulletins issued by the National Weather Service on local radio stations.
  • Beware of falling braches if you are near trees.

Power Outages

  • To prepare for a possible power outage, charge cell phone batteries, gather supplies, and turn your refrigerator and freezer to a colder setting. If you lose power, items that need refrigeration will stay cooler for longer.
  • If your power goes out, disconnect or turn off appliances that would otherwise turn on automatically when service is restored. If several appliances start up at once, the electric circuits may overload.
  • Make sure your flashlights and any battery-operated radios or televisions are working. Keep extra batteries.
  • If you lose power & have a disability, access and functional needs or use Life Sustaining Equipment (LSE) & need immediate assistance, dial 911.

For more safety tips, visit New Yorkers are also encouraged to download the Notify NYC mobile application, which is available for free download from iTunes or Google Play. Notify NYC is the City’s free emergency notification system. Through Notify NYC, New Yorkers can also receive phone calls, text messages, and/or email alerts about weather conditions and other emergencies. To learn more about the Notify NYC program or to sign up, visit or call 311. You can also follow @NotifyNYC on Twitter.


MEDIA CONTACT: Tashawn Brown/Omar Bourne (718) 422-4888
STAY CONNECTED: Twitter: @NotifyNYC (emergency notifications) @nycemergencymgt (emergency preparedness info) Facebook: /NYCemergencymanagement