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National Grid crews ready to be out in full force

By GARY LIBERATORE

Several schools let out early on Monday as well as canceled after school activities in preparation for Hurricane Sandy. While they are planning on hunkering down, National Grid crews are ready to be out in full force.

An official with National Grid says he expects there to be power outages and that it's just a matter of how widespread. All hands are expected to be on deck starting Monday night in order to make sure the outages, wherever they may arise, are as short as possible.

A National Grid representative was among the two dozen or so people who took part in Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri's storm preparedness meeting on Monday morning. It was held in the mayor's conference room at Utica City Hall, which will act as the command center during the storm. Although experts say the rains may be less of a threat to the Mohawk Valley, Mayor Palmieri says you can never tell for sure.

Palmieri says that Halleck's Ravine in south Utica has been cleared out as much as possible and the city has removed as many leaves as they could in flood-prone areas, but he wants to warn residents to prepare for power outages.

In the event of a power outage, Utica Fire Chief Russell Brooks is warning residents to make sure they remove anything that's not tied down in their yard and for people in high-rise buildings to remove anything from their window sills, as objects could prove dangerous if caught up in the wind. Chief Brooks also urged people to use flashlights instead of candles in order to prevent fire hazards.

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