Putnam County is in the midst of preparing for the impending storm that Hurricane Irene is expected to hit the region with this weekend.
Whether the storm hits as a hurricane, as it is currently classified or as a high-grade tropical storm, the office of emergency management office is reminding residents to take precautions to minimize the potential damage that can ensue.
Hurricane Irene is currently a category 3 hurricane and has turned north-northeast with the core approaching Abaco Island, according to the National Weather Service. The current sustained winds are 115 MPH.
County Executive Paul Eldridge conducted a meeting at the Emergency Operations Center on Thursday and reviewed the response plan for each department. All departments shared his concern that our number one priority is the safety and welfare of the residents and visitors of Putnam County.
Eldridge and OEM Commissioner Robert McMahon will be holding a follow-up meeting today with the departments.
“We will continue to monitor the tracking of this intense storm and will respond accordingly,” said Eldridge. “Each department and agency within Putnam County is committed to this event and by working together we will provide the residents and visitors of Putnam County a unified and coordinated response.”
NYSEG and Central Hudson have also made extensive preparations for this storm.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, Putnam 9-1-1 and other local law enforcement agencies have assigned additional staff to ensure adequate coverage. All local fire departments and ambulance corps have been contacted and have committed to the required resources.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is also preparing for the storm and warns customers that the storm may impact travel this weekend.
“We are making arrangements to bring in extra personnel over the weekend, preparing our facilities and infrastructure by clearing drains, securing work sites against possible high winds, checking and fueling equipment, stocking supplies, and establishing plans to move equipment and supplies away from low-lying areas as needed,” the MTA said in a released statement. “Because of the severity of the wind and rain associated with a hurricane, there may be partial or full shut down of our services to ensure the safety of our customers and employees.”
The MTA is also prepared to participate in evacuation plans if Governor Andrew Cuomo or NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg calls for it.
The Office of Emergency Management recommends several tips for residents to do as preparation to the storm. It suggests:
- Cover all of your home’s windows with pre-cut ply wood or hurricane shutters to protect your windows from high winds.
- Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
- Keep all trees and shrubs well-trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
- Secure your home by closing shutters, and securing outdoor objects or bringing them inside.
- Turn off utilities as instructed. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Install a generator for emergencies
- Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage, it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
- Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.