Sandy will bring high winds and rain to region starting Monday
The massive storm system associated with Hurricane Sandy is scheduled to bring high winds and heavy rain to upstate New York starting Monday.
Sandy will have its greatest impact on central New York late Monday through Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Binghamton.
High winds in central New York will begin around 2 p.m. Monday and continue through Tuesday evening, according to the NWS. The storm will bring sustained winds of 30-40 miles per hour with gusts of 50-60 m.p.h.
The eye of Sandy is not forecasted to cross upstate New York until Wednesday morning.
Along with wind, Sandy will bring heavy rain for several days, with rain beginning Sunday night. Rain will be heavier in western New York, according to forecasts.
The storm system has potential to cause flooding and power outages.
Officials are warning residents to stock up on drinking water and batteries and to take the storm seriously.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been holding several briefings with emergency management officials across the state this weekend. He has also activated the National Guard to be on alert to assist in cleanup or emergency operations. Up to 1,175 guard members will be on call in the Southern Tier, Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island.
The State Canal Corporation has lowered water levels in the Erie Canal east of Little Falls to help prevent flooding. Tropical Storm Irene damaged several locks last year.
Public transportation in New York City will be shut down beginning this evening, according to the governor. Flights in and out of New York City's airports are being canceled for tomorrow and Amtrak is suspending service along the East Coast, according to the Associated Press.
Here's more from the AP:
The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency says "the time for preparing and talking is about over."
Craig Fugate says it's now time to act, before Hurricane Sandy moves ashore and collides with two other weather systems, potentially threatening some 50 million people.
Tens of thousands are being told to evacuate coastal areas of Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut and other vulnerable spots along the East Coast.
New York City is shutting down its subways, buses and trains tonight, and closing its schools tomorrow. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has also ordered the evacuation of low-lying neighborhoods in the city, including lower Manhattan.
Airlines are canceling thousands of flights and Amtrak is scaling back train service in the Northeast Corridor.
Forecasters expect Sandy to come ashore late tomorrow or early Tuesday, most likely in New Jersey, bringing high winds and coastal flooding. Then it's expected to meet up with a storm moving in from the west and cold air streaming down from the Arctic.
Forecasters say the resulting megastorm could blow down trees and power lines and dump heavy rain or snow over 800 miles, from the East Coast to the Great Lakes. Parts of West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and North Carolina could get up to 2 feet of snow.
Here are some ways you can stay updated on the storm:
You can visit nyalert.gov to get the latest announcements from various state agencies. You can also sign up to receive text and email alerts.
National Grid has set up a special website for Hurricane Sandy. You can also sign up for text message alerts by texting 'STORM' to 'NGRID' (64743).
NPR's The Two-way blog is tracking, mapping and constantly posting Hurricane Sandy updates.
And you can track Sandy's path with this interactive map from the New York Times.