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Local officials prepare for Sandy as the storm approaches the East Coast

By NICOLE PITT

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) Officials along the East Coast are anxiously watching Sandy's path. The so-called "Super Storm" could hit the Mohawk Valley next week.

As the storm approaches more local leaders are reaching out. Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a State of Emergency Friday afternoon. ""As we prepare for the possibility of Hurricane Sandy hitting New York State, I am activating all levels of state government to prepare for any potential impacts," Governor Cuomo said. "We are working with federal and local partners to follow storm developments and organize a coordinated response plan. With unpredictable weather conditions, we are taking the greatest precautions - especially after our experience from last year's storms. I urge New Yorkers to plan for hurricane conditions and follow news reports to stay updated on the storm's progress."

Officials in Herkimer and Oneida Counties are finalizing their plans just in case Sandy makes a direct hit. Officials with the American Red Cross of the Mohawk Valley started working their phones on Thursday. Calls were going out to all of the volunteers in the area, to see who is available to help out in case our area is hit hard early next week.

Erie Canal Officials are already taking steps. They are closing the canal between Lock 8 in Scotia and Lock 17 in Little Falls at 7 a.m. Saturday morning and dropping the water levels by 3 to 5 feet.

The American Red Cross is ready to open shelters as needed in our area. "Should we need to open a shelter, we need to make sure we have cots, blankets, foods, any medical supplies to support the general population," said Edith Buffalohead with the American Red Cross. "We will sustain a shelter as long as necessary but what we are trying to encourage everyone to do is to be prepared. To shelter in place or at home, which means having a disaster supply kit in place."

Here's what should be inside that disaster supply kit-
- three days worth of food for every person in your household.
- flashlights
- battery operated radio
- first aid kit.

Pets- other than service animals-- are not allowed inside emergency shelters-- so make a plan for your pets.

The American Red Cross has a Smartphone app to help you stay ahead of the storm. Tt's free and will send you alerts about available shelters as the storm gets closer.

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