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ALBANY - Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday urged residents to prepare for a possible slamming by Hurricane Joaquin and to listen to state alerts they can receive on their cellphones.

Flood watches have been issued for several upstate counties. No flood watches were issued for Nassau or Suffolk counties or New York City.

New Yorkers can sign up for the transmitted alerts at https://users.nyalert.gov.

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"Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Irene proved that you do not have to be near the coast to be impacted by Mother Nature," Cuomo said Wednesday. He has ordered state agencies to prepare their emergency response equipment.

The National Hurricane Center determined Wednesday morning that Joaquin had reached hurricane strength.