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Poll: Nearly half of New Yorkers say recent storms affected their area

September 19, 2011
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

LOUDONVILLE - A new poll shows 47 percent of New York residents say their area was affected by Hurricane-Tropical Storm Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and the flooding that followed, according to the Siena (College) Research Institute.

The survey, released Monday, shows 27 percent of residents saying that prior to Irene they were very prepared to withstand a natural disaster, with 42 percent saying they were somewhat prepared. Sixty-four percent admitted they were no more prepared than prior to the storms.

The survey was conducted Sept. 13 to 15 by random telephone calls to 622 state residents over the age of 18, via both land line and cell phones. Data was weighted by age, gender and region to enhance representativeness. Results are reported with a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points.

Siena also polled people about the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Concern for both a future terrorist attack and another natural disaster scored above 70 percent among New Yorkers, but a 55 percent majority thought the U.S. is safer today than 10 years ago.

Large majorities of both residents of New York City's suburbs and the eastern counties upstate said their areas were affected by the storms. Seventeen percent overall described the impact on their local area as very severe, and 38 percent said the storms and their aftermath affected them and their household seriously (10 percent very, 28 percent somewhat).

"In the areas hit by the storms, three-quarters said roads were blocked or inaccessible, 61 percent had wind damage, downed trees or roof damage, and 60 percent experienced power outages," SRI Director Don Levy said in a press release. "A majority in those areas say that there was local flooding and public buildings were closed. Nearly four in 10 had water in their basements. Over one in 10 faced evacuation.

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"As the storm approached, New Yorkers were glued to their television sets. Eighty-nine percent followed the news coverage at least somewhat closely, and most of those did so by watching TV. And while a quarter of all residents felt the coverage was overhyped and sensational, most felt it was appropriate to the size and scope of the storm."

Before Irene hit, 89 percent had flashlights and batteries, and 72 percent had an inventory of food and water. But fewer than half, 47 percent, had "go" bags containing necessities like medications, clothes and important papers, and 45 percent had an emergency plan that all household members understood and were ready to put into effect. Since the storm, of those who did not have one of the ingredients of preparedness, 46 percent of residents have acquired flashlights, 35 percent have purchased emergency necessities, 13 percent have put together "go" bags, and 13 percent have developed emergency plans.

Today 27 percent of residents remain very concerned that they and their communities could face a natural disaster that could result in power outages, flooding or dangerous property damage. While 28 percent are either not very or not at all concerned, 45 percent are at least somewhat concerned.

Of greater concern is a terrorist attack. Over a third of New Yorkers, 36 percent, are very concerned while 35 percent are somewhat concerned about a terrorist attack that could impact them. Concern is greatest in New York City, where 44 percent are very concerned and 36 percent are somewhat concerned.



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