A wind warning has been issued for much of western New York, starting Sunday morning
ROCHESTER — Local leaders are trying to make sure they're ready if the wind really does blast the area and it may come to a state of emergency, depending on how rough it gets.
The National Weather Service has issued a wind warning in effect from 10 a.m. Sunday to 10 a.m. Monday for a wide area of western New York and the Finger Lakes, including Ontario, Wayne and Livingston counties. West winds of 30 to 40 mph, with gusts up to 65 mph, are possible, according to the weather service, which warned of the possibilities of downed trees — especially shallow rooted pines — and power lines and advised residents to secure loose objects.
In Monroe County — as well as Orleans, Erie, Genesee and other nearby counties — the warning starts earlier, at 7 a.m., and notes the possibility of even stronger gusts, up to 75 mph.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is directing the New York State Department of Transportation and the Thruway Authority to ban empty tractor trailers and tandems from portions of the state Thruway. The ban takes effect starting at 10 a.m. Sunday.
The ban covers the following portions of the Thruway and interstate system:
• Exit 31 in Utica to exit 61 (Ripley to the Pennsylvania border)
• Along I-590 (full extent)
• I-490 from the Victor exit to LeRoy exits.
• I-390 from Dansville to Route 104.
On Friday afternoon, Monroe County leaders got on the phone with local fire departments, highway supervisors, law enforcement and town supervisors to make sure they're coordinated as they get ready for the worst. Some of them are keeping their communities ready to open emergency shelters if the storms cause widespread protracted blackouts.
Utilities like RG&E and National Grid have been proactively trimming potentially problematic tree limbs.
Officials are urging the public to be ready for what could be an extended period without power.
"Stay tuned, make sure you have batteries, you have flashlights, you have adequate food for at least a few days, water. If you need to take shelter, if you have a house you can go to, a house that might have a generator, you might want to make plans for that as well," said Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo.
Keep in mind that a downed power line might be reported to RG&E crews but they can't do anything while those winds are still blowing at dangerous speeds.
Monroe County plans to open its emergency operations center when the number of homes with the lights out hits 10,000.
The Red Cross and other agencies are also standing by to provide shelter.
The Livingston County Department of Health also issued a list of winter storm preparations and precautions in case of power outages and flooding this Sunday.
The list of those are as follows:
Before: Be Prepared
• Stock up on common food, water, and other supplies. Identify emergency contacts.
• Safeguard your home and health by getting timely information on storm progress from the internet, radio and television news stations.
• Plan for possible evacuation if you are in a flood-prone or sensitive area.
During: Storm Safety
• If there is a power outage, be mindful of food safety by keeping refrigerator and freezers doors closed to the extent possible.
• If using a generator or supplemental heating device, beware of carbon monoxide poisoning and fire hazards.
• If you have to evacuate, be cautious of roadway conditions and possible road closures.
After: Storm Recovery
• If you evacuated, upon re-entering your home look for signs of water from roof leaks, broken pipes and basement flooding.
• If you smell gas, get out of the house immediately and contact the utility company.
• Check for food supplies that may have spoiled during a power outage and discard them if they seem suspicious.
Messenger Post Media contributed to this report.