New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called a state of emergency in anticipation of Hurricane Irene's arrival this weekend.
The announcement means that state officials will be able to mobilize and use its resources more efficiently and be able to tap into federal resources earlier.
"In this emergency I am activating all levels of state government to prepare for any situation that may be caused by Hurricane Irene," Cuomo said in a released statement. "We are communicating with our federal and local partners to track the storm and to plan a coordinated response, and we will deploy resources as needed to the areas expected to be hit the hardest. I urge New Yorkers to personally prepare for hurricane conditions and to cooperate with emergency officials if needed. By working together, we will all be able to face this storm in a calm and organized manner."
Donna Greene, deputy communications director for Westchester County, said the statement had little impact on the county’s storm preparation efforts Thursday afternoon.
“I think we’re already at a high preparedness level and we will continue to be,” Greene. “As for the announcement, I don’t believe it will have a direct effect on what we are doing. We will continue to watch the storm, which, by indication of the governor’s state of emergency, should be taken seriously.”
Cuomo’s office said the following agencies will be deployed to the Westchester County Department of Emergency Services in the next few days to help coordinate with storm preparedness efforts: Metro-North Railroad; the state Office of Fire Prevention & Control; the state Department of Transportation; the state Police; the Thruway Authority; the state Department of Environmental Conservation; the state Office of Emergency Management; the state Department of Health and the American Red Cross.
Already, the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has canceled Friday, Saturday, and Sunday camping reservations at all state parks in the Long Island, Palisades and Taconic regions. A complete evacuation of anyone remaining in the campgrounds will occur at noon on Saturday. Parks will be closed if wind speeds reach 45 mph, or as weather conditions require.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has cancelled all weekend track work and is directing personnel to be on standby for emergency repairs. The MTA will have emergency dispatch vehicles, maintenance personnel and extra bus tow trucks standing by. The MTA is also inspecting critical subway, track, and tunnel pumps to ensure they are working properly.
Check back with Patch for more updates as they become available.