NYC Emergency Management Encourages Prompt Preparedness As Hurricane Lee’s Impact And Path Remain Uncertain

September 12, 2023

New York City Emergency Management announced today that it is continuing its monitoring and preparedness activities in advance of potential impacts from Hurricane Lee, a Category 3 storm currently located about 550 miles south of Bermuda.

Although the storm poses no immediate threat to New York City, the agency is urging New Yorkers to remain alert and be prepared.

NYCEM is closely evaluating all possible aspects of the storm’s effects on New York City. At this time, no significant winds, rain or flooding is expected in NYC. However, indirect impacts, such as high surf and dangerous rip currents, are likely to develop along Atlantic-facing beaches tomorrow.

“We are closely watching Hurricane Lee and while its impact on New York City is still uncertain, these next few days are the best time to review your own emergency plans and supplies as we move through the peak of hurricane season,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol. “Our City’s emergency managers are fully engaged and coordinating across agencies to ensure the safety of our residents. But we can’t do it alone. I urge every New Yorker to review your emergency plans, know if you are in an evacuation zone, and stay informed through Notify NYC. We all play a role in our city’s resilience.”


As part of its comprehensive plan, New York City Emergency Management is intensifying its coordination efforts with partners in the public and private sectors. Coordinated interagency calls are being organized to brief these partners on emerging risks, review operational plans for a coastal storm, and to prepare them for potential escalation in their own response measures, if required. Specialized emergency assets and response teams are on standby, ready for rapid deployment as conditions warrant.

NYC Emergency Management advises all residents—especially those in flood-prone areas, as well as basement apartment dwellers—to undertake preemptive preparedness actions to prepare for this and future storms. The actions include staying informed about the latest forecast and updates from NYC Emergency Management, making a plan for how to stay safe if a storm impacts New York City, and having a Go Bag that includes food, water, first-aid supplies, and other essentials.

NYC Emergency Management issued the following guidance to help New Yorkers and their family stay safe, regardless of the storm’s ultimate course:


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KEY PREPAREDNESS TIPS

1. KNOW YOUR ZONE

  • Areas of NYC prone to storm surge flooding are divided into six evacuation zones.
  • Be aware of your evacuation zone; visit NYC.gov/KnowYourZone to check if you’re in one of these areas.
  • During a coastal storm, evacuation orders may be issued for residents in hurricane evacuation zones.

2. MAKE A PLAN

  • Develop a comprehensive emergency plan to ensure the safety of you and your family.
  • Visit NYC.gov/ReadyNY for resources and guidance on creating your plan.

3. STAY INFORMED

  • Sign up for Notify NYC, the official, free emergency communications program of the City of New York.
  • Receive emergency notifications via the Notify NYC mobile app, NYC.gov/notifynyc, 311, or @NotifyNYC on Twitter.
  • Messages are available in 13 languages, including American Sign Language.


Additional Tips for Comprehensive Preparedness

  • Stay Informed: The City will send emergency alerts through various channels, including Notify NYC, available in 13 different languages, with a special sub-group dedicated to Basement Apartment Dwellers. Register at NYC.gov/NotifyNYC or dial 311.
  • Plan for Special Needs: If you have a disability or specific access and functional needs, ensure your emergency plan addresses how these factors may affect your evacuation, sheltering, and communication with emergency personnel. Seek assistance from your family or service providers as needed.
  • Gather Supplies: Every household member should have a Go Bag packed with essential items for evacuation, such as bottled water, non-perishable food, and basic medical supplies.
  • Develop a Communication Plan: Create a clear plan with your household members outlining what to do, how to find each other, and how to communicate if a hurricane strikes. Utilize the Ready New York: My Emergency Plan Hurricane Guide at NYC.gov/myemergencyplan. Be familiar with your evacuation zone and have a plan in case evacuation becomes necessary.
  • Have the Right Insurance: Protect your home or business by obtaining separate flood insurance. Basic policies do not cover flood and wind damage. Homeowners, renters, and business owners are eligible for flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program. Learn more at www.floodsmart.gov.
  • Consider Basement Precautions: If you live in a basement or below-grade apartment, be aware that you may be vulnerable to flooding, even if you’re not in an evacuation zone. Follow City guidance for additional actions aimed at below-grade dwellings.
  • Property Maintenance: Clean your property, including your roof, crawlspaces, vents, decks/patios, and gutters. Dispose of any debris that could become dangerous projectiles during a storm.

Prepare for 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.
  • Make sure your flashlights and any battery-operated radios or televisions are working. Keep extra batteries.
  • If you lose power and have a disability, access and functional needs or use Life Sustaining Equipment (LSE) and need immediate assistance, dial 911.
  • Do not use generators indoors.
  • Check on friends, relatives, and neighbors, especially older adults and people with disabilities, access and functional needs, or health conditions. Help them to prepare if needed.

For more safety tips, visit NYC.gov/SevereWeather. Before and during an emergency, the City will send emergency alerts and updates to New Yorkers through various channels including Notify NYC, the City’s free emergency notification system. Through Notify NYC, New Yorkers can receive phone calls, text messages, and/or emails alerts about traffic and transit disruptions and other emergencies. Sign up for Notify NYC to receive free emergency alerts and updates in your preferred language by visiting NYC.gov/NotifyNYC, calling 311 (212-639-9675 for Video Relay Service, or TTY: 212-504-4115), following @NotifyNYC on Twitter, or getting the free Notify NYC mobile application for your Apple or Android device. 

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