2011-08-25 / Front Page

UPDATED: Putnam prepares for Irene

Extreme caution urged; HEAVY RAINS TO HIT SATURDAY
Eric Gross

Putnam prepares for Irene

UPDATED: Putnam County braces for Irene

Extremely heavy rain to hit later Saturday
Putnam prepares for Irene; stores deluged by shoppers

Hurricane Irene, even before it hits the metro area, is having wide impacts. Across Putnam County, they include:

** Train service to and from Grand Central, on both lines in Putnam, will be suspended as midday Saturday. Exact times can be found here: http://www.mta.info/mta/news/releases/?en=110826-MNR40.

** A number of stores were wiped out of supplies by late Friday. Many expected new shipments this morning.

** It's not clear yet if Hudson River crossings will be closed.

** Officials from all county departments met Friday afternoon at the Bureau of Emergency Services headquarters in Carmel to make final plans for the arrival of Hurricane Irene.

** Firehouses in Philipstown will act as "welcoming centers" for those cannot safely stay at home. More details here: http://philipstown.com/

While the county is not expected to receive a direct hit from the monster storm as is the case along the North Carolina, New Jersey and Long Island coastlines, Putnam will be impacted by torrential rains and strong winds that will most likely result in power outages.

Putnam's Director of Emergency Management Thomas Lannon told some three dozen individuals gathered for the briefing that the storm would arrive "earlier than predicted" with the main thrust being felt starting Saturday night and continuing into Sunday afternoon.

Latest information from the National Hurricane Center indicated sustained winds of 45 mph across Putnam with gusts as high as 57 mph.

The New York State Electric and Gas Company has already relocated 40 tree-trimming crews to the county while all fire departments will be staffed throughout the storm. One hundred seventy-five ambulances are being staged at Stewart Airport in Newburgh for deployment in the event evacuations are necessary at area hospitals. The ambulances will also be made available for 911 calls anywhere in the Hudson Valley.

Metro North Railroad service will be halted at12-noon Saturday and Putnam Area Rapid Transit (PART) buses will also shut down service on Saturday afternoon.

While the county has no current plans to open any shelters, four fire houses on the western side of Putnam—Continental Village, Garrison, Cold Spring and North Highlands will be operating welcome centers for those in need.

Commissioner of Emergency Services Robert McMahon ordered the opening of the county's Emergency Operation Center in Carmel at 8 pm Saturday which will be manned around-the-clock by professionals in the fields of law enforcement, emergency services, utilities, and senior citizens services.

McMahon said the county would be using its 211 line as well as a special hotline—808-4060—for non-life threatening emergencies. "If you need fire or ambulance service, call 911," he said.




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‘No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.’ ~Hal Borland