Valley municipalities issue emergency declarations
States of emergency went into effect Monday morning in both Sayre and Athens Borough in advance of Hurricane Sandy's arrival, and emergency declarations took effect in Athens Township and Tioga County, N.Y. by mid-afternoon.
Sayre officials decided to issue a state of emergency following a Sunday briefing that included emergency management coordinator Jim Daly, borough council members, mayor Denny Thomas, department heads and emergency responders, according to a release from the borough.
The borough's emergency operations center, located in the public works building on South Thomas Avenue, began operations at 10 a.m. Monday, according to the release.
Daly said Monday afternoon that he and emergency responders have participated in twice-daily briefings and maintained contact with National Weather Service forecasters.
No trees or wires had fallen in the borough as of Monday afternoon, but Daly said public works and fire department staff had a plan of action to respond to anticipated reports of downed trees and power lines as the storm peaks.
Sayre officials did not restrict travel in the borough Monday but suggested that residents limit non-essential travel and be aware of possible temporary road closures.
Athens Borough's emergency declaration went into effect at 9 a.m. Monday and will last until further notice, according to information from the borough.
Athens Township also declared a state of emergency Monday afternoon, according to a release from township supervisors and emergency officials.
Supervisors cautioned township residents to limit all unnecessary travel, avoid driving around barricades or into standing water, and be aware of downed power lines and trees.
A state of emergency for Tioga County, N.Y., including all of its towns and villages, went into effect at 6 p.m. Monday, according to a declaration signed Monday by legislative chair Dale Weston. County offices were closed Tuesday.
"This State of Emergency has been declared due to the potential life-threatening effects of Hurricane Sandy," the declaration reads. "This situation threatens the public safety."
High winds were expected to peak late Monday into Tuesday morning, with winds sustained at between 30 and 40 miles per hour, with gusts higher than 60 miles per hour possible, according to the NWS.
The NWS cautioned in a briefing that downed trees and power lines could possibly block roads and cut off power to residents for days. Penelec has cautioned its customers to prepare for possible lengthy power outages lasting up to ten days.
Sayre emergency management officials encouraged residents Monday to keep provisions on hand including flashlights, a battery-operated radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, emergency food and water, essential medicines and prescriptions, gasoline and propane.
Sayre, Athens and Waverly school districts and Epiphany School in Sayre all dismissed students early Monday and will remain closed Tuesday due to weather forecasts, school officials reported.
In an announcement on the district website Monday, Athens Area School District officials said they decided to cancel Tuesday classes Monday morning because of anticipated power outages. "We will have no way to notify families and employees if power is lost," the message read.
Wyalusing Area School District, Northeast Bradford School District and North Rome Christian School also closed Tuesday due to the expected inclement weather.
The Northeast Bradford School District set up a website, located at tinyurl.com/northeastbradford, to keep parents updated in case officials cannot access the school website. District officials will also keep in touch with students, parents and staff through telephone, the district website and media reports.
Wednesday trick-or-treat times in Sayre and Athens Borough were also pushed back as a precaution. Sayre will now hold trick-or-treating from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, while Athens Borough children will go door-to-door from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, officials said.
Trash collection in Sayre has been delayed as a result of the storm. Tuesday's Zone 1 trash collection has been moved to Wednesday, Zone 2 to Thursday and Zone 3 to Friday, according to a release from the borough. Recycling collection scheduled for Friday in Zone 3 has been rescheduled to Nov. 19.