PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – City officials are warning Peekskill residents to begin preparing for Hurricane Sandy, which may hit New York early next week.
The National Weather Service is predicting Westchester County may see heavy rains that could cause flooding and high winds starting Sunday evening and continuing into Tuesday.
"We've been preparing for two days now," said Peekskill Police Spokesman Lt. Eric Johansen.
The city plans to open a shelter at Peekskill High School should the need arise, Johansen said, and has already ordered a trailer with cots and blankets from Westchester County.
Johansen urged residents to monitor the city website, area radio stations and news outlets for storm updates. Those needing assistance should call the police at (914) 737-8000 or 911 in the case of an urgent emergency.
The city is encouraging residents to keep leaves off the street and keep the catch basins of their homes clear to minimize flooding and property damage.
The fire department receives numerous calls for water conditions and flooding basements with each significant storm. Residents with a basement prone to flooding should move belongings to higher ground and residents are being asked to stay out of flooded basements because energized wiring or outlets below the water line may pose a safety hazard.
"If they had problems with Irene they will probably have problems with this storm as well," Johansen said, "They should make sure they have a working sump pump."
Residents should be sure they have emergency supplies such as food, water and flashlights with extra batteries on hand as there is a strong probability of extended periods without electricity. Additional emergency planning advice can be found at the American Red Cross website.
Caregivers of the elderly and the ill are asked to make preparations in advance for the pending storm and to be ready if evacuation is required.