Prior to early dismissal this morning at Schoharie Elementary School, students on the playground used leaves on the basketball court to spell out the message, "Go Away Sandy!"
SCHOHARIE COUNTY From the Hudson Valley to the Adirondacks and west to Buffalo, anxious upstate New Yorkers remembered the storm damage wrought by a double-whammy last year and stocked up on supplies, boarded up windows and fled flood-prone homes as a massive storm churned toward the region packing powerful winds and potentially damaging rains.
Municipal offices, colleges, and dozens of school districts across the state shut down today, hours before the storm — a hybrid behemoth forming as Hurricane Sandy merges with a winter storm from the west and an arctic blast from the north — was expected to arrive with heavy rain and wind gusting to 65 mph. The National Weather Service predicted sustained winds of 30 to 40 mph Monday afternoon through Tuesday, and one to six inches of rain.
The wind was expected to cause even more damage than usual because it was coming from the north in a region where trees are anchored against the prevailing west wind, the weather service said. Pine trees, with their shallow root systems, are the most likely to be toppled.
The latest news from the National Weather Service for the Capital Region can be found HERE.
A continuous live feed from New York City, which will be hit first in the state by Hurricane Sandy, is being hosted at the Capital Region Scene.
An emergency declaration has been issued in the city of Schenectady, until Wednesday.
National Grid has issued a series of tips for customers who may experience a power outage.
Rain was expected to be less of a problem than wind in most of the upstate region, but some minor stream flooding was predicted in the Catskill Mountains. Flooding was forecast along the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie tonight due to the Atlantic storm surge, and wind-driven waves were expected to cause lakeshore flooding along Lake Ontario in western New York this afternoon through Tuesday morning.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo called up an additional 1,000 National Guard troops, doubling the superstorm force he called up Sunday.
Residents who were hard-hit by other massive storms in the past year were taking no chances this time.
In Schoharie, Leslie Price was packing up this morning at the trailer provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency after her home was washed away by Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011. Her sister, Lonie Putman, was helping Price and her two cats move to a hillside cabin owned by a stylist who works at Price’s hair salon.
“We’ve got to get the cats out,” Putman said.
Price, also the Schoharie village clerk and treasurer, said about 300 homes were damaged in last year’s flooding. She said 58 homes have been repaired and people have moved back in, but most of the others remain empty. Price reopened her flood-damaged hair salon on Aug. 28, the one-year anniversary of Irene.
“By Thursday, we’ll know if we have an office or not, if we have a trailer or not,” Price said. She said Irene’s flooding took everyone by surprise, but she’s determined not to be a victim this time.
In nearby Middleburgh, school buses were lined up shortly before noon to take students home after a half day, and cars lined up at convenience store gas pumps.