New York's governor checks on preparedness around the region
TIOGA COUNTY, N.Y. - As Hurricane Sandy prepares to make a left turn and pound the eastern coast with high winds and heavy rains, New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo initiated a conference call with representatives in the region to discuss plans being made in preparation for the storm, which is predicted to arrive in the area as early as Tuesday.
And although the exact path and nature of Sandy is uncertain, weather models are predicting the storm will move inward on the eastern shoreline, and then travel west into Pennsylvania before traveling north through New York and up to the Lake Ontario region as a Tropical Storm and Depression.
"One of the things we do know," Cuomo said during the conference call held at the Public Safety Building in Binghamton, N.Y. on Saturday, "is that this storm is going to be a long one, possibly four to five days."
Cuomo was scheduled to travel to locations on Saturday by helicopter, with the original briefing scheduled to take place at the Binghamton Regional Airport. But according to Cuomo, travel by helicopter wasn't possible, so satellite and telephone conferences were scheduled instead.
Gathering next to the Public Safety Building located behind Broome Community College were local lawmakers to include Senator Tom Libous (R-52), Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-126th), and Broome County Executive Debbie Preson. Also gathered for the conference were Broome County emergency services personnel.
Tom Libous, during the conference call, stated that Tioga County is prepared for the storm, and that everyone is taking this very seriously.
Broome County Executive Debbie Preston explained to Cuomo the efforts that are already taking place in the county in preparation for the storm. "We have already met with the Red Cross to set up shelters if needed, and will have a shelter for those with special needs, such as oxygen" said Preston.
Governor Cuomo stated, during the conference, that we seem to be having many storms, and they are happening more frequently.
"We are breaking the record with this one," said Cuomo. "I don't know what else we could be doing," he added.
Throughout the day on Saturday, Cuomo has worked feverishly to prepare for the storm. Cuomo directed the New York Army and Air National Guard to mobilize in response to Hurricane Sandy; and as a result, the Guard will deploy up to 1,175 Citizen Soldiers and Airmen. Troops reported to duty at their assignments immediately.
Also on Saturday, Cuomo announced that President Barack Obama has granted his request for a federal emergency declaration.
The declaration, Cuomo noted, will enable the federal government to provide assistance and resources to New York State and local governments to support activities related to evacuation, sheltering, and other protective measures. Cuomo has also ordered a shut-down of various transit systems within New York City and surrounding areas.
Debbie Preston noted that Broome County will declare their state of emergency today.
Lupardo, who represents Twin Orchards in Vestal, N.Y., an area hard hit by Tropical Storm Lee last year, urges residents to use caution throughout the week. Because of the high winds projected, Lupardo cautioned area residents to stay away from any downed power lines.
"These power lines could be live, and could be very dangerous," Lupardo stated.
To assist residents throughout the storm with questions regarding road closures due to downed trees and power lines or flooding, the New York State Department of Homeland Security has set up a helpline.
Residents can call (888) 769-7243 or (518) 485-1159 for information about preparing for the hurricane and its impact. Information will also be available for referrals to County Emergency Management Offices and American Red Cross shelters and road closures.