The Advance Warning System (AWS) disseminates information to people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs through their service providers. Please share the important information below with your clients and other agencies or individuals to empower them to make informed decisions.


Temperatures forecast to be in the low to mid-20s with wind chill values as low as single digits

Spectators can text THXGIVING18 to 692692 to receive important alerts and notifications about the parade and cold weather

November 20, 2018 — The New York City Emergency Management Department and the Health Department are urging individuals to prepare for extremely cold temperatures during Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day parade. According to the National Weather Service forecast, temperatures Thursday will be in the low to mid-20s with wind chill values as low as single digits. Cold weather can cause or worsen health problems. Certain individuals are at an increased risk for injuries, illness or death, such as those who drink heavily or use drugs and becomes incapacitated outdoors. Parade spectators, including older adults and infants, are encouraged to dress warmly. Wear hats, scarves, gloves, and layered clothing. Keep fingertips, earlobes, and noses covered. To learn more about winter weather safety, visit the Health Department’s interactive online infographic.

Prolonged exposure to cold can lead to frostbite – which often results in red and painful or pale skin – and hypothermia. Symptoms of hypothermia include:

  • Intense shivering
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble speaking
  • Lack of coordination
  • Sluggishness or drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Shallow breathing

If you see symptoms of hypothermia or frostbite, call 911 and follow instructions, or go to the emergency room.

“With the low temperatures and even lower wind chills on Thursday, make sure you bundle up if you plan to attend the parade,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito. “If you’re at increased risk for injury or illness due to the extreme cold, significantly limit your time outdoors, and check in on elderly family members and neighbors.”

“This Thanksgiving Day’s weather is expected to be frigid and potentially very dangerous,” said Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “While everyone is at risk for hypothermia, certain individuals are at an increased risk for injuries, illness or death, such as those who are homeless and those who drink heavily or use drugs and become incapacitated outdoors. Take care to bundle up warmly if you are planning on attending the parade, and if you or your loved ones have symptoms of hypothermia, like intense shivering or dizziness, seek medical attention or call 911.”

Code Blue

A Code Blue Weather Emergency notice is issued when the temperature is forecast to drop to 32 degrees Fahrenheit or less between 4 p.m. and 8 a.m., including National Weather Service calculations for wind chill values. No one who is homeless and seeking shelter in New York City during a Code Blue will be denied. Should you see an individual who appears to be homeless and in need out in the cold, please call 311 and an outreach team will be dispatched to offer assistance. During Code Blue Weather emergencies, experienced outreach teams work to connect homeless New Yorkers with the following resources:

  • Shelters: During a Code Blue, shelter is available system-wide to accommodate anyone who is reasonably believed to be homeless and is brought to a shelter by outreach teams. Accommodations are also available for walk-ins.
  • Drop-in centers: All drop-in centers are open 24-hours per day, including when Code Blue procedures are in effect, and will assist as many people as possible for the duration of the emergency. Drop-in staff and the dedicated outreach teams they work closely with each and every day can also make arrangements for homeless individuals at other citywide facilities.
  • Safe havens and stabilization beds: Chronically homeless individuals may be transported directly to these low-threshold housing programs.
  • Street homeless outreach: Teams will contact vulnerable individuals on their Code Blue Priority Lists a minimum of once every four (4) hours beginning at 8 p.m. during Code Blue Alerts and once every two (2) hours beginning at 8 p.m. for Enhanced Code Blue Alerts to encourage them to accept services, including transportation to a shelter placement. DSS coordinates borough-level Code Blue efforts directly with partner City agencies, including but not limited to NYPD, DSNY, and the Parks Department.

New Notify NYC Short Messaging Service (SMS)

NYC Emergency Management is making it easier for New Yorkers and visitors to “get notified” about the 2018 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Notify NYC, the City’s official emergency communications program, today launched an opt-in short message service (SMS) for those attending Thanksgiving Day festivities in New York City on Thursday. New Yorkers and visitors can text the keyword THXGIVING18 to 692692 (NYCNYC) to receive alerts and updates on weather, road closures, traffic delays and more. Message and data rates may apply.

“With Notify NYC’s new short code messaging, anyone attending the Thanksgiving Day parade can receive key alerts and information in the palm of their hands, with a simple text,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito. “This service adds to the utility of the Notify NYC program, making it even easier for us to communicate with the public.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Notify NYC to keep spectators easily informed on developments related to the Macy’s Parade. With millions of spectators joining us in celebration, this tool enhances the already incredible communication and safety measures in place to ensure that everyone has a fantastic experience on Thanksgiving Day,” said Susan Tercero, executive producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

More than 3.5 million spectators are expected to attend the 92nd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which kicks off at 9 a.m. on Thursday, November 22, stretching 2.5 miles through the city streets from 77th Street and Central Park West to 7th Avenue and 34th Street.

Notify NYC is the City’s free, official source for information about emergency events and important City services. The opt-in SMS service is just one of many ways people can stay informed with Notify NYC. New Yorkers can download the Notify NYC mobile application, which is available for free download from iTunes or Google Play. To learn more about the Notify NYC program or to sign up, visit , call 311 (212-639-9675 for Video Relay Service, or TTY: 212-504-4115), or follow @NotifyNYC on Twitter. For up-to-date parade tips, text THXGIVING18 to 692692T

The Advance Warning System (AWS) alerts organizations who work with people with disabilities and access and functional needs to various types of hazards and emergencies in New York City that may affect people's independence and daily lives. Participating organizations receive public preparedness and emergency information that they can relay to their clients and other similar agencies. If you work for an organization that serves people with disabilities or access and functional needs you can subscribe for AWS Alerts at the following link:

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November 20, 2018