The most obvious storm preparation Saturday was by retailers, with stores promoting survival goods as dire predictions of serious weather from Hurricane Sandy rolled in.
UPDATE: A flood watch goes into effect Monday afternoon for the Capital Region, according to a National Weather Service update at 9:46 a.m. The watch, which is in effect until late Tuesday night, includes Saratoga, Schenectady, Albany, Schoharie and Montgomery Counties. The accompanying high wind watch goes into effect Monday morning for the same region, but also includes Fulton County.
There is still no hazardous weather expected for tonight.
At the Price Chopper in Wilton, a pallet of water bottles was prominently displayed, and at a Stewart’s Shop in Saratoga Springs, shoppers were greeted with a table of jugs of water, lighters, batteries and candles.
Stewart’s spokesman Tom Mailey said all of their Capital Region locations are stocked with supplies to survive a weather event, but they’re also stocked with last-minute perishable items, like bread and milk.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency offers tips on how to prepare for Hurricane Sandy and other tropical storms. Sandy is expected to be especially disastrous when it merges with a winter storm system, bringing powerful winds, rain, snow and storm surge along the Eastern Seaboard.
Before the storm
• Know your surroundings and whether your home is in a flood-prone area. Determine where you would go — and how you would get there — if you were ordered to evacuate.
• Cover your home’s windows, either with permanent storm shutters or marine plywood at least 5⁄8 inch thick.
• Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well-trimmed.
• Clear clogged rain gutters.
• Secure all outdoor furniture, decorations, trash cans and anything else that could blow away.
• Install a generator for emergencies.
During the storm
• Listen to the radio or TV for information.
• Secure your home, close storm shutters and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
• Turn off propane tanks.
• Avoid using the phone except for serious emergencies.
• Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes, such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other larger containers with water.
• Stay indoors during the storm and away from windows and glass doors.
• Do not drive into low-lying areas or over roads and bridges that are already under water.
Take it with you
If you evacuate, bring:
• Driver’s license
• Credit card information
• Birth certificates
• Social Security cards
At Albany International Airport, preparations are being made on a larger scale. According to spokesman Doug Myers, the airport could end up serving as a port in the storm for planes unable to land on the coast and smaller planes seeking shelter. The airport has already received about 10 requests from owners of small planes to keep them in a hangar.
Myers said there was no indication that travelers would be affected today.
The Capital Region probably won’t begin to feel the impacts of Sandy until Monday morning.
As of Saturday afternoon, flood and high wind watches had been issued by the National Weather Service for most of the Capital Region. The flood watch goes into effect on Monday night.
Drawdowns of reservoirs along the Schoharie Creek were under way to provide holding capacity for the anticipated deluge.
Additionally, state and local crews trimmed trees to prevent power outages and cleared culverts and ditches to allow for a smooth flow of water.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo mobilized his cabinet officials. In the Capital Region, Canal Corp. Director Brian Stratton will be at the Central Emergency Operations Center in Albany.
In Albany County, Executive Dan McCoy directed all personnel to be on standby.
“All county employees at each subdivision have prepared and will continue prepping equipment for Sandy,” said McCoy in a statement. “Each subdivision has a loader and plow units ready for operations. We have used this equipment in the past for debris removal.
“We have also prepared small equipment, which consists of chain saws, pumps, generators, barrels and barricades for deployment,” he added.
In the village of Waterford, a call went out for volunteers to check on neighbors. The Waterford Area Long-Term Recovery Group alerted residents that the emergency shelter is the Waterford-Halfmoon High School. Anyone who wants to help with the shelter effort is encouraged to call Vanessa Gleason at 237-3199.
National Grid has also gone into full mobilization mode, with 300 line crews, 50 contractors and 200 tree-trimming crews available.
Even some local politicians have taken a break from campaigning to spread warnings. Democratic Assembly candidate Angelo Santabarbara sent out warnings from his campaign’s email and Twitter accounts, which offered a handful of survival tips, like storing important documents in waterproof containers.