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Federal, state, and local officials gather to form storm plan

February 23, 2019 06:33 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC)- Officials are ready to declare a state of emergency if conditions become dangerous Sunday afternoon into Monday morning.

State and local resources are already lined up to help anyone who needs it during what officials expect to be one of most significant weather events of the year so far. 

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Manyremember the windstorm back in March of 2017 that knocked out power for thousands of people for days. This year, officials are taking a proactive approach to make sure that doesn't happen again. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo visited Rochester's airport ahead of the storm Saturday. He says state and local officials are ready to handle whatever Mother Nature throws Sunday.

"The one thing we've learned over and over in these situations is that if you wait for the storm to develop to start your actions it's too late," Governor Cuomo said.

In Greece, crews working for RG&E have been proactively pruning trees to reduce the chances of them flying around and crashing down on power lines. The forecast says the area could get slammed with wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour Sunday into Monday.

"When you put the cold together with the wind, together with the snow, together with the high water at Lake Ontario [and] that is a bad combination," Governor Cuomo said.

Lake Ontario is already 15 inches higher than average.

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo says officials are hoping for the best but prepared for the worst.

"I am prepared at this point to declare a state of emergency in the afternoon hours, depending on the impact of the storm," Dinolfo said.

Dinolfo says residents should be stocked up and prepared to be without power for several days after the storm hits.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren says the city has a place for people to go if the power goes out.

"Tomorrow at 9 A.M., the Gantt Center will be open because we believe there will be power outages," Warren said. "Make sure that you take care of everything that you need to take care of today, because we do believe that this weather event tomorrow is going to be something that is going to be very, very significant for our area."

Congressman Joe Morelle says he will also be watching the area closely, in case the federal government needs to step in to help.

"If there is a determination and we reach the threshold of damage to declare a federal disaster we will be working closely with the governor and his partners to make sure that we're as agressive that we can in urging federal support," Morelle said.

Officials want you to check your property to make sure everything that could fly away is anchored down. They also say everyone should be prepared for potential travel restrictions Sunday afternoon.

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Kaci Jones

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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