Hurricane warning for local area

| 15 Feb 2012 | 08:58

    Warwick — By mid-week the National Weather Service was reporting that the Northeast could be hit by Hurricane Irene, a category 4 or 5 storm with winds upwards of 115 mph and that the storm could cause damage in other than coastal areas. Heavy rains and strong winds could impact Orange County as early as late Saturday. Although coastal areas are more likely to suffer the most damage, inland regions in the past frequently experience destructive winds, flash flooding, downed trees, power outages and even tornadoes. Winds can stay above hurricane strength well inland. Flash flooding can occur quickly due to intense rainfall. And longer term flooding on rivers and streams can persist for several days after the storm. In 1999, for example, Hurricane Floyd caused severe flooding, damaged roads and power outages in the Hudson Valley. Fifteen counties in eastern New York, including Orange County were declared eligible for government assistance. Checklist Warwick — At the risk of sounding like the boys who cried wolf, we offer the following checklists and contact information in anticipation of bad weather this weekend. Much of the information involves common sense. But it may also serve as a reminder of the power of Mother Nature, whether a storm strikes this weekend, next month or this winter. Stay safe. What to do before a storm Here are several suggests from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (for the complete list visit Learn locations of official shelters. For Warwick, they area Warwick schools and Mount Alverno Center. Check emergency equipment, such as flashlights, generators and battery-powered equipment such as cell phones. Buy food that will keep and store drinking water. Don’t forget medications. Trim trees and shrubbery so branches don’t fly into your home. Clear clogged rain gutters and downspouts. Fuel and service family vehicles. Bring in light-weight objects such as garbage cans, garden tools, toys and lawn furniture. What to do after the storm Listen to local weather reports. Watch for closed roads. If you come upon a barricade or a flooded road, turn around. Stay on firm, dry ground. Moving water only six inches deep can sweep you off your feet. Standing water may be electrically charged from power lines. Avoid weakened bridges and washed out roads. From the Orange County Office of Emergency Management Learn the safest route from your home or business to high, safe ground should you have to leave in a hurry. Develop an emergency plan and identify a meeting place if family members become separated. Know what to do and when to do it. Make an itemized list of all valuables including furnishings, clothing, and other personal property. If possible, take photos of your items. Keep the list in a safe place. Plan what to do with your pets. Keep your automobile fueled. If electric power is cut off, gasoline stations may not be able to pump fuel for several days. Have a small kit of disaster supplies in the trunk of your car. Find out how many feet your property is above and below possible flood levels. When predicted flood levels are broadcast, you can determine if you may be flooded. Have emergency waterproofing supplies on hand, including sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, and lumber. Town of Warwick Emergency Shelters Warwick Valley Schools - 987-3000 Mount Alverno Center - 20 Grand Street just past St. Anthony Community Hospital - 986-2267 Important telephone numbers Call 911 for all emergencies requiring immediate assistance Warwick Police Department: 986-3423 Fire: 986-4000 Ambulance: 986-4100 St. Anthony Community Hospital: 986-2276 Orange & Rockland Utilities: 986-1191 Warwick Town Hall: 986-1124 Warwick Town DPW: 986-3358 Village of Warwick: 986-2031 Village DPW: 351-4745 Greenwood Lake Village Hall: 477-9215 Greenwood Lake DPW: 477-2509 Florida Village Hall: 651-7815 Florida Public Works: 651-4332 Important Web sites National Weather Service: Orange County Office of Emergency Management: Federal Emergency Management Agency: New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services: