State of Emergency declared; Chenango roads close at 9 p.m.

NORWICH – City, county and state emergency personnel and law enforcement met at the city’s Emergency Operations Center, located on the second floor of the Norwich City Police Department for an update and webinar on Hurricane Sandy and its potential impact countywide.

The operations center opened at 11 a.m. today and will remain open through

the night.

Earlier this afternoon, Board of Supervisors Chairman Lawrence Wilcox issued a State of Emergency for Chenango County that will be in affect until further notice. As part of this Emergency Declaration, all ROADWAYS IN CHENANGO COUNTY WILL BE CLOSING AT 9:00 PM MONDAY AND WILL BE RE-EVAULATED AT 6:00 A.M. TUESDAY, in anticipation of numerous trees and power lines down as a result of the strong winds we will receive overnight.

David J. Nicosia, warning coordination meteorologist with the NOAA and the National Weather Service spoke during this afternoon’s half hour webinar, stating that Sandy is intensifying at this time. The storm is now expected to make landfall at approximately 8 p.m. along the coast of New Jersey.

“The winds are picking up and we’re trying to time the beginning of those winds, which will continue to increase from here on out,” stated Nicosia. “We expect peak winds this evening.”

Those winds are expected to hit Chenango County later this evening, at approximately 9 p.m., and local residents can expect sustained winds of 35 to 40 miles per hour, with peak winds reaching 50 or even 60 miles per hour, he added, lasting four to five hours or more.

“It’s incredible,” said Nicosia, who called the storm a hybrid of a hurricane and a Noreaster. “We’ve never seen anything like this.”

Widespread flooding is not expected to be a problem for Chenango County, at this point, with the heaviest rains located at the system’s southern region. Winds are expected to die down Tuesday throughout the day. Approximately 8,000 NYSEG customers are currently without power, and Nicosia said people can expect many more over the course of the evening.

“This is just the beginning,” added Nicosia. “We’ll continue to see the winds increase.”

A second webinar has been scheduled for 9 p.m. and The Evening Sun will continue to post updates at throughout the duration of the storm.

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