By Eric Durr New York National Guard
MALONE, N.Y., Jan. 23, 2018 — One hundred and twenty-nine New York National Guard soldiers and airmen are on active duty in case rains and warmer weather cause ice jams and flooding on rivers in upstate and northern New York.
The New York National Guardsmen were placed on state active duty Jan. 21 at the request of the New York Division of Homeland and Security and Emergency Services.
Cold Produces Ice Issues
Extremely low temperatures had resulted in ice building up on the rivers that flow into Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River in northern New York, as well as the Mohawk River, which runs from Utica, New York, to the Hudson River just north of Albany.
Higher temperatures expected this week will lead to increased river water levels due to melting snow and precipitation falling as rain instead of snow. Ice still remaining on the rivers can cause natural dams and lead to flooding, according to Air Force Command Chief Master Sgt. Shawn Peno, a meteorologist and the chief enlisted advisor to the New York National Guard’s Joint Operations Section.
The most critical period for flooding will be from today to Jan. 25, he said.
New York State emergency officials asked that the National Guard put soldiers and airmen on duty with high-axle trucks and Humvees who were prepared to aid local governments if required. Soldiers and airmen were also directed to be prepared to act as observers to report on river conditions.
Teams Prepare for Emergency Response
On Jan. 21, small teams were assigned to Franklin County and Plattsburgh and emergency response forces were stationed at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse and the Glenville Armed Forces Reserve Center near Schenectady.
One hundred guardsmen are operating in the field, while other guardsmen provide mission command and conduct support operations.
Twenty vehicles are available for missions. Ninety-six Army National Guardsmen were on duty and 33 members of the Air National Guard were placed on state active duty.
The guardsmen were told to prepare to be on duty for seven days.