PLATTSBURGH — Hurricane Sandy didn’t cause much excitement in the North Country during the day Monday, but it was expected to gain force overnight.
The predicted powerhouse disrupted life before it even arrived, prompting numerous closures and cancellations for Monday and today.
STATES OF EMERGENCY
President Barack Obama declared New York a federal disaster area late Sunday, and area towns and counties followed suit Monday. Gov. Andrew Cuomo had already designated a state of emergency Saturday, as the oceanfront cities prepared.
Essex County Supervisors Chairman Randy Douglas (D-Jay) made the declaration just past noon Monday, allowing access to immediate emergency contracts as needed.
“We’re hoping for the best and planning for the worst,” Douglas said. “Seventy-mile-an-hour winds could have a devastating effect on us.”
Other towns declared emergencies as the day progressed. A state of emergency enables municipalities to hire contractors and purchase materials without a formal bid process.
Elizabethtown Supervisor Margaret Bartley made the declaration for the Essex County seat.
“The predictions are for high winds starting early this afternoon,” she said around midday Monday. “This could cause trees to fall on power lines, knocking out electric power. Because the storm is so large and causing damage downstate, it may be several days before all electric power can be restored.
“The best thing residents can do is stay off the roads starting this afternoon.”
Tupper Lake issued a joint declaration of emergency Monday, signed by Village Mayor Paul Maroun and Town Supervisor Roger Amell. It is to stay in effect until 2 p.m. Wednesday, when conditions will be assessed and a decision will be made as to whether it should be extended.
COLLEGES CUT CLASSES
Because of the potential impact of the storm, local colleges shut down early.
Plattsburgh State canceled all classes and events starting at 2 p.m. Monday. However, the campus remained open “with essential services intact for on-campus students,” according to a news release.