Croton-on-Hudson and the Village and Town of Ossining have declared a state of emergency. The news comes as Croton and Ossining officials continue to monitor Hurricane Irene's path. At the same time, Ossining and Croton officials are continually talking with Westchester County officials as Hurricane Irene approaches.
"We are very well prepared. All of our emergency staffs—ambulance, fire and police— are really on top of things. One of the reasons we declared an emergency is that it allows us to use heavy equipment like fire trucks to get people to hospitals if the ambulances can't get through," said Village of Ossining Mayor Bill Hanauer.
A hurricane watch has been issued for our area. There is also a high wind watch and a flood watch in effect for Ossining and Croton. Officials are urging residents to stay off the roads after 6 p.m. All residents should avoid standing and moving water. Anyone on the road due to an emergency should not drive around barricades. Croton and Ossining residents are being reminded that they should never go into a flooded basement until the electricity has been turned off.
Many in Ossining are hoping that the Hurricane does not cause power outages, but if it does ConEd has set up multiple mobile command posts throughout Westchester to deal with the outages. "If there is a problem with electricity people should call ConEd directly," said Village of Ossining Manger Richard Leins.
The Town of Ossining has beefed up their staffing ahead of the weekend storm. Town of Ossining Officials have prepared for flooding along North State. Rd., 9A, and other areas. Workers have also prepared emergency light towers and generators, so that they can be quickly deployed when needed. "Workers are leaving barricades on the sides of various roads so that police officers can safely close the road in the event that the highway department can not get there in time," said Town of Ossining Personnel Director Maddi Zachacz.
In Ossining equipment such as trucks and barricades have been moved from the DPW garage on Route 9A to remote locations. Officials have made sure that all equipment is ready to use and in place if needed. The Village of Ossining's police boat and other small boats are standing by if authorities need to travel through flooded areas. If the need arises, and Ossining residents have to move to a shelter, the Joseph G. Caputo Community Center will be available to them. The center is located at 95 Broadway.
The Village of Croton-on-Hudson will use the Harmon and Grand St. firehouses as shelters if they are needed. Croton's municipal building will also be used as a shelter if necessary.
Parking at the Ossining train station is prohibited tonight and Sunday. The station was one of the areas that experienced flooding during Hurricane Floyd back in 1999.
In Ossining workers have scoured the Kill Brook, to make sure that there aren't any objects in the body of water that might impede the flow of water from Ossining into the Hudson River. The Kill Brook overflowed and caused damage in Ossining during Hurricane Floyd. Officials have already had Ossining's catch basins and culverts cleaned out ahead of the storm.
"The most important thing that people can do is to be prepared… People should stay off the roads late Saturday," said Ossining Village Manager Richard Leins.
Stay with Ossining-Croton Patch for updates on the storm as it approaches our area.