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Local News -

October 26, 2012

Area officials brace for Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee are uncomfortably fresh in many memories, so news that Hurricane Sandy could head this way early next week had emergency management officials doing some preliminary work Thursday.

“Conference calls with the (national) weather service and conference calls with the state, just strategizing, as well as just preparing our local agencies and departments to be watchful,” said Richard Bell, the director of emergency services for Delaware County.

“It’s a little ways out, but we need to start preparing and thinking about the scenarios and making sure that our plans and equipment are ready to

respond to it.”

Mitch Gilt of the National Weather Service’s office in Binghamton cautioned against drawing any comparisons between Sandy and Irene or Lee.

“It’s a whole different type of scenario,” he said. “There’s a potential for heavy rain, some strong wind, and, as far as particulars go, I wouldn’t compare it to anything at this point, because there’s just too many variables.”

“I think it would be a real disservice to mention Irene of Lee or anything like that … this far ahead,” he said. “People need to be watching this event, keep updated on the weather forecast through the weekend.”

Nevertheless, emergency management officials were being cautious.

Robert O’Brien, assistant emergency management coordinator for Otsego County said that it was too early to take any action, but that Otsego officials also were participating in the National Weather Service conference calls

National Hurricane Center computer models indicate that Sandy will head northeast along the coast, but offshore, and then turn toward land sometime Monday. Accuweather, a private forecaster based in Pennsylvania, is predicting that the storm will track more sharply to the northwest once it makes landfall.

“This is a fairly unusual event, based on the fact that it’s coming from the Atlantic up the coast and, all of a sudden, it gets sucked back into the interior part of the United States,” Gilt said.

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