By Pam Schehl and Alan Reed
News Staff Reporters
MOUNT VERNON — Although a monster storm is predicted to slam into the East coast this week, Knox County shouldn’t be as hard hit, according to Mark Maxwell, director of Knox County’s Emergency Management Agency.
As of Friday, he said, the National Weather Service warned of wind and rain, with an update expected later today. First responders, road crews and administrators are routinely notified by email of the information Maxwell receives from the weather service.
“Northeast Ohio was going to get a lot more rain and wind,” he said. “A lot of that is because of Lake Erie. Knox County is kind of on the edge, but we’re probably far enough south it won’t affect us. I don’t think we need to do anything extraordinary at this point. I believe the greatest threat to us at this point is trees and maybe power lines down from wind.”
Just in case, he said, citizens should have an emergency kit and a family emergency plan in place. They should make sure they have food and water and those things they would need for at least three days if a power outage occurred.
Besides food and water, key things to have would include a radio with spare batteries. “If they need to go to a shelter, they can listen to the radio to know where the shelter is going to be, for example,” Maxwell said. “Do they have batteries for their flashlights? If they have a generator they plan on using, do they have gasoline for that generator? If you think about the storm we had last time and the wide-spread power outage, finding a gas station open can be challenging. Do you have gas in your vehicles? Think through all those things you might need over the next few days and do you have them covered.”
The Knox County Chapter of the American Red Cross is prepared in the event county residents need assistance as they ride out the storm.
“We’re ready. We have supplies and shelter kits ready and in our trailers. We’re just waiting and watching to see what happens with the severity of the storm,” said Kelly Brenneman, director of the local chapter of the American Red Cross.
Brenneman has been in contact with Maxwell for any weather updates and emergency plans. “We’re literally in a wait-and-see mode right now,” said Brenneman, who is hesitant to make announcements of opening any shelters. “Because we don’t know where the power outages might be. We have to wait to see what areas are affected, and then pick the sites that best fit the conditions.”
Once any shelters are established, Brenneman said the best way of alerting residents of shelter options are through the Mount Vernon News and local radio stations. “We really need to pull out those battery-powered transistor radios. When something like this happens, we have to have those,” she said, as emergency information will be planned to be broadcast locally.
The American Red Cross works directly with the EMA in opening emergency shelters. Although the number of potential shelters is hard to determine, locations for shelters are placed throughout the county to allow residents a short travel time.
“Knox County has anywhere from 25 to 35 volunteers that are ready to go out at any time,” said Brenneman, who said she has seen local emergency shelters operate on as few as three people per shift.
Accommodations can vary at the different shelter locations. Some sites are considered “comfort stations” where people can go inside to relax, warm up and maybe recharge some batteries for scooters. Some locations may have more electrical support for sleep apnea machines or other forms of life-support.
Overnight accommodations can be available at other shelters if needed. More options of food may be found here as well as cots and blankets for those who need a place to stay overnight.
“We hope that the YMCA doesn’t lose their power because they always open their shower facilities for us,” said Brenneman.
THE REMNANTS OF HURRICANE SANDY ARE EXPECTED TO MOVE INTO WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA TUESDAY...BRIEFLY STALL THEN MOVE SLOWLY NORTH WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY. THE STORM SYSTEM IS EXPECTED TO BRING WITH IT STRONG...POSSIBLY DAMAGING WINDS.
HIGH WIND WARNING IN EFFECT FROM NOON MONDAY TO 4 PM EDT TUESDAY
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CLEVELAND HAS ISSUED A HIGH WIND WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM NOON MONDAY TO 4 PM EDT TUESDAY.
* WINDS NORTH TO NORTHWEST 30 TO 40 MPH WITH GUSTS 55 TO 60 MPH.
* TIMING MONDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON.
* IMPACTS STRONG WINDS COMBINED WITH SATURATED GROUND WILL RESULT IN DOWNED TREES AND UTILITY LINES. POWER AND TRAVEL WILL LIKELY BE INTERRUPTED IN SOME PLACES LATER MONDAY THROUGH TUESDAY. DAMAGE TO ROOFS AND SIDING ARE ALSO EXPECTED TO OCCUR AND ANY LOOSE OBJECTS WILL BE BLOWN AROUND.
A HIGH WIND WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN SUSTAINED WINDS OF 40 MPH ARE EXPECTED FOR AT LEAST AN HOUR...WITH GUSTS OF 58 MPH OR GREATER AT ANY TIME. DAMAGE TO TREES...POWER LINES...AND PROPERTY ARE POSSIBLE WITH WIND OF THIS MAGNITUDE. IF YOU HAVE A HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES BE EXTRA CAREFUL UNTIL THE WIND SUBSIDES. STAY TUNED TO WEATHER RADIO FOR FURTHER DETAILS OR UPDATES.
THE REMNANTS OF HURRICANE SANDY ARE EXPECTED TO MOVE INTO WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA...BRIEFLY STALL THEN MOVE SLOWLY NORTH WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY. SIGNIFICANT MOISTURE WILL BE PUSHED INTO OUR AREA BY THE SYSTEM LEADING TO WIDESPREAD MODERATE RAINS.
FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH TUESDAY EVENING
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CLEVELAND HAS EXPANDED THE FLOOD WATCH TO INCLUDE A PORTION OF NORTH CENTRAL OHIO. INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING AREAS...ASHLAND...ERIE OH...HURON... KNOX AND RICHLAND.
FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH TUESDAY EVENING
REMNANTS OF SANDY WILL PRODUCE WIDESPREAD MODERATE TO LOCALLY HEAVY RAIN TONIGHT THROUGH TUESDAY EVENING. LAKE EFFECT CONDITIONS WILL ALSO LOCALLY ENHANCE THE RAINFALL FOR AREAS JUST INLAND FROM THE LAKE BETWEEN CLEVELAND AND SANDUSKY SOUTH TO NEAR MANSFIELD.
LOW LYING AREAS AND SMALL STREAMS COULD BEGIN TO EXPERIENCE FLOODING PROBLEMS ANY TIME LATER TONIGHT THROUGH MONDAY. LARGER CREEKS AND RIVERS MAY THEN START TO HAVE FLOODING PROBLEMS AS THE MODERATE RAIN CONTINUES LATE MONDAY THROUGH TUESDAY. ROAD CLOSURES DUE TO THE FLOODING WILL BEGIN TO IMPACT TRAVEL AND WATER RISES IN LOW-LYING AREAS WILL BEGIN TO FLOOD HOMES AND BUSINESSES.
ADDITIONAL RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 2 TO 3 INCHES ARE EXPECTED WITH LOCAL AMOUNTS OF 4 TO 5 INCHES POSSIBLE IN THE HIGHER TERRAIN INLAND FROM THE LAKE.
A FLOOD WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING BASED ON CURRENT FORECASTS. YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE ALERT FOR POSSIBLE FLOOD WARNINGS. THOSE LIVING IN AREAS PRONE TO FLOODING SHOULD BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLOODING DEVELOP. STAY TUNED TO WEATHER RADIO FOR FURTHER DETAILS OR UPDATES
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