Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

May 27, 2008

Commissioner Hooker Offers Farm Advice For Hurricane Season

Hurricane Season Begins June 1; State Offers Advice for Farm Owners & Rural Residents

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today offered advice for farmers in preparing for hurricane season, which begins June 1 and runs through November 30. Hurricanes or coastal storms often result in torrential rainfall and damaging high winds.

Governor David A. Paterson proclaimed this week, May 25 through May 31, as Hurricane Preparedness Week in the Empire State, urging residents to begin taking simple, common-sense steps to be prepared for the 2008 hurricane season and proclaimed this week.

"Living in the Northeast unfortunately does not always spare us from the negative effects of coastal storms," the Commissioner said. "You don’t have to think back too far to remember the flood of 2006 that impacted so many lives from the Mohawk Valley to the Southern Tier. With hurricane season just around the corner, this serves as a good reminder for all of us to be prepared for the potential of these weather-related storms."

Two years ago, counties in New York’s Southern Tier received 18 inches of rain in June; nine of which was received in two days. The devastating floods took out bridges and roads, streams raged out of control, farm fields were destroyed, and the landscape, people and businesses remain forever changed because of this tragedy. The event was described at the time as sudden, overwhelming and unexpected.

John R. Gibb, Director of the New York State Emergency Management Office (SEMO) said, "While New York State has not recently experienced the devastation that these storms cause, we need to be prepared as individuals and as a State for the eventuality. While State and local governments continue to work on their preparedness and response capabilities, each of us has a responsibility to develop and practice plans to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our property. You also need to have accurate information to protect yourself and your loved ones, and the best way to get emergency information is by subscribing to NY-ALERT, the State’s all-hazards alert and notification system."

Ellen Abend, New York Extension Disaster Education Network Coordinator said, "At the very least, being prepared for any emergency involves planning what to do and how your family will keep in touch if separated. However, in a recent survey by the Center for Excellence in Government, 34 percent of respondents did not believe ‘it would happen to them’ and only 29 percent of those surveyed had created an emergency plan. It is imperative that everyone understand the need for an emergency plan, as it can happen to you."

Damaging coastal storms can happen anywhere, anytime in New York, which is why it is important to prepare yourself, your family, your pets, and your farm. Here are some steps you can take to prepare for the possible effects of a hurricane or coastal storm this season:

· Identify the risks in your area. What is your area most susceptible to? Are you vulnerable to flooding, wind damage, or other weather-related hazards?

· Know evacuation routes and emergency shelter locations. Identify alternate lodging in case primary lodging and shelters are inaccessible. Before an emergency, identify friends, relatives and hotel/motel chains that are pet-friendly.

· Locate safe places for livestock. Identify the safest locations on your property to shelter your livestock. If no safe areas exist, or the threat exceeds the ability to safely shelter animals in place, it may be necessary to transport livestock out of harm’s way. Create a buddy system with other farms to transport and shelter these animals temporarily.

· Create an emergency plan for your family, farm and business. State and local emergency management officials, Cornell Cooperative Extension and Empire State Animal Response Team can all provide information on emergency planning.

· Prepare a "go-kit" for your family and pets. Include copies of important medical records, insurance papers, and contact information for your veterinarian and insurance agent in your go-kit and/or an alternate location away from home.

· Obtain and store emergency supplies for your farm. Include items such as plywood, fencing, fresh water, and extra feed. Store in an elevated and easily accessible location.

· Storm-proof barns, out-buildings and property. Clear loose debris and remove other hazardous materials from property. Secure supplies and equipment that could possibly become a hazardous projectile in high winds, or move to high ground to mitigate potential flood damage.

· Mark animals with a unique I.D. and contact number. This way your animals can be quickly identified and easily returned in the event they are found off your property.

· Plan for alternative energy sources. Keep a generator on premise or identify dealers and rental companies that have generators available should your system become inoperable.

NY-ALERT, which was unveiled by SEMO last year,  offers one-stop access through which state agencies, and county and local governments, emergency service agencies and institutions of higher learning  can provide emergency information to a defined audience for a variety of circumstances, including weather, security and transportation conditions. It is part of the state’s ongoing commitment to provide citizens with information so that they will understand risks and threats they may face on a daily basis and know how to respond in a timely and appropriate way. To date, NY-ALERT has more than 1.4 million subscribers in addition to being used on 55 campuses of the State University of New York, 23 campuses of the City University of New York and in 25 counties across the State. To subscribe to this free, web-based system, visit

For more information on emergency preparedness for humans and animals visit: , or

2008 Press Releases