By Eric Durr | New York National GuardJanuary 23, 2018
MALONE, N.Y.--Nearly 130 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 Guard members were placed on state active duty on Jan. 21 at the request of the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.
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. The ice left on the rivers can cause natural dams leading to flood, according to Chief Master Sgt. Shawn Peno, an Air Force 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 Thursday, Peno 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.
On Sunday, small teams were assigned to Malone, New York, in Franklin County; Plattsburgh, in Clinton County, 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 Guard members are operating in the field, while other Guard members provide mission command and conduct support operations.
Twenty vehicles are available for missions. Ninety-six Army National Guard Soldiers were on duty and 33 members of the Air National Guard were placed on state active duty.
The Guard Soldiers and Airmen were told to prepare to be on duty for seven days.