As the East and New Jersey coasts endure Hurricane Sandy, the state of Ohio urges preparedness to residents. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued flood watches and warnings for eastern and northeast Ohio, and high wind warnings for most of the state through tomorrow.
The Ohio Emergency Management Agency continues work with Maryland, New York and New Jersey on Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) requests for resources to assist in response and recovery efforts from the hurricane. Ohio EMA is deploying three staff members to the New York Emergency Operations Center as planning support. Butler County Incident Management Teams (IMT) and Ohio IMT are ready and available to assist New York in its response efforts.
Ohio’s greatest concern from Hurricane Sandy is the possibility of widespread power outages from strong winds that can down power lines. The NWS states: “A high wind warning means that sustained wind of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph are expected. Wind of this magnitude can down tress, damage property and make driving difficult.”
“Ohio is no stranger to strong winds and prolonged power outages,” said Nancy Dragani, executive director of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. “The state experienced a week-long power outage this summer during the derecho and heat wave. Ohioans went days without electricity in September 2008 with the remnants of Hurricane Ike, and in December 2004 with severe snow and ice storms.”
“We encourage everyone to get ready,” Dragani said. “Make sure that your disaster supply kit is well-stocked. Ensure you have flashlights or battery-operated lanterns on hand. Your kit should also have the basics such as bottled water, nonperishable foods, a manual can opener, blankets, warm clothing, first aid kit, a battery-powered radio or NOAA Weather Radio.”
The Ohio EMA continues monitoring weather conditions and remains in contact with county EMAs as the storm moves toward the state.
For additional information on weather preparedness and safety tips, visit www.ready.ohio.gov and the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness’ site: www.weathersafety.ohio.gov. Keep up on road closures due to construction and severe weather at the Ohio Department of Transportation’s site: www.buckeyetraffic.org.