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Governor declares emergency for Yates County

Governor declares emergency for Yates County

YATES COUNTY--Yates County is in a state of emergency Wednesday, May 14 after being hit by severe thunderstorms Tuesday evening. The state of emergency was declared by Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike along with Gov. Andrew Cuomo Wednesday, as travel warnings are issued with some roads being closed to traffic.
Spike said, as of Wednesday afternoon, approximately 20 roads are closed, with the village of Penn Yan and town of Jerusalem being the hardest hit areas. He said no deaths or injuries have been reported, but many highways are eroded.
Considerable damage can be seen to a parking lot area along East Elm Street in Penn Yan, including a collapsed building and several damaged cars. The Keuka Outlet has also swelled considerably, with water flowing up against the walls of some of the Birkett Mills buildings. Spike said one county road alone had 26 sluice pipes ripped out. He said the cost estimate for the damage is currently unknown.
"The storm was strongest at 10 p.m. [Tuesday night]," Spike said. "911 started getting calls of the wind and rain at 8:30 p.m. [for] wires down, trees hit by lightening, etc. Then later flooding. Five to seven inches of rain is the call currently."
Penn Yan schools were closed Wednesday, as a makeshift shelter was set up at the academy. Spike said the shelter is currently housing approximately 12 people displaced by the storm, which dumped between five and seven inches of rain on the village. Spike said they have received more than 100 calls related to the Tuesday night storm.
Spike said he does not know how long the state of emergency is expected to last at this point. He said the county needs to mitigate the roads for safe passage. Spike said the village and county governments are currently working with state officials.
Cuomo today announced a state of emergency for Yates County as well, deploying state resources to flood damaged areas in the Finger Lakes, including the Penn Yan vicinity in Yates County.
“Communities in Yates County as well as other areas of Western and Central New York were hit hard by severe thunderstorms and rain showers last night, leaving flooded roads, houses, and damage throughout the region," Cuomo said. "Given the extensive damage in Penn Yan and surrounding communities, I am declaring a state of emergency for Yates County to help local governments receive the resources they need as soon as possible. The state is in close contact with local officials, and has deployed emergency response and recovery teams to affected communities to assist where needed. With the forecast calling for additional thunderstorms and more potential flash flooding, the state will be monitoring the situation closely to see how we can assist local communities, and I urge New Yorkers to stay safe, heed the advice of their local emergency first responders and look out for their friends and neighbors.”
Under a state of emergency, critical resources that are normally restricted to state use are mobilized to assist local governments and laws and regulations that would otherwise impede their rapid response are suspended.
The governor has already directed the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to deploy its mobile command and communications vehicles and water rescue team to Yates County.
New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) Commissioner Jerome M. Hauer said. "We are asking people to stay alert, listen to emergency instructions and cooperate with local officials if needed.”
The National Weather Service in Binghamton issued a flood warning for urban areas and small streams in Central Yates County until 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. County officials continue to indicate streams and creeks at bankfull. Area streams and creeks will begin to recede later today. Some locations continuing to experience flooding include Bluff Point, Branchport, Guyanoga, Italy, Keuka Park, Mays Mills, Milo Center, Penn Yan, Potter and Yatesville.
Cuomo urges people in these areas to follow all safety recommendations from local officials and reminds New Yorkers to take the following actions:
• Monitor the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Weather Radio or your local radio and TV station broadcasts for information.
• If local officials advise evacuation, do so promptly.
• Bring outside possessions inside the house or tie them down securely. This includes lawn furniture, garbage cans, and other movable objects.
• If there is time, move essential items and furniture to upper floors in the house. Disconnect electrical appliances that cannot be moved. Do not touch them if you are wet or standing in water.
• If you are told to shut off water, gas, or electrical services before leaving, do so.
• Secure your home: lock all doors and windows.
To receive emergency information, sign up for free alerts and notifications at New York Alert’s website:

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