To some, Sandy is just a good girl gone bad from the movie Grease.
Many are seeing Hurricane Sandy in the same way as the storm bears down on the area.
County Executive Greg Edwards told The Post-Journal the county is prepared for any situation that may arise as the storm is predicted to worsen. The county has prepared an Emergency Operations Center in Mayville, and has coordinated efforts with local fire services, American Red Cross, Salvation Army and safety services. A conference call was held Monday with most local municipal leaders, to ensure everyone was aware of emergency procedures.
"I talked with local elected leaders about a disaster declaration, if necessary. Each one of the municipalities has a local emergency plan in place already," Edwards said. "I'm prepared to issue a countywide declaration, if necessary. Otherwise, localities, if it's very localized, can issue their own."
Already, National Grid and the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities have issued statements about their level of preparation as Hurricane Sandy approaches. National Grid is preparing for high winds, torrential rains and flooding in low-lying areas.
In Jamestown, the BPU already has crews on-call in case of emergency.
"We're trying to get ready," said Becky Robbins, BPU communications coordinator. "We have crews ready to come in if we need them. We'll have crews here. We will be ready to take care of things as soon as we can. The control room also will have extra employees there to help with telephone calls. We're just trying to prepare for anything that can happen."
Additionally, the BPU has already opened Warner Dam, almost to its full capacity, in order to help with the lake level.
"It looks like (the BPU was) preparing well for this event," said Jeff Diers, watershed coordinator for the Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Economic Development. "I think they're doing everything they possibly can with that dam. The Warner Dam is only a structure that influences the lake, but it can't regulate the lake. All they can do is prepare for an event such as this by letting out as much water as they can over a period of time."
Edwards issued a checklist for individuals to use in preparing for the storm. The complete list can be found on the Chautauqua County website, at www.co.chautauqua.ny.us. The BPU advises staying indoors, and driving only if necessary. Additionally, it suggests using cell phones for emergency calls only, turning off or unplugging electronic equipment and appliances and using flashlights instead of candles to avoid a fire hazard.
Diers said anyone close to a water body or a stream should be prepared for high rising water.
"Be prepared, if you know you have an area that routinely floods under normal conditions, or somewhat strong rain events, that this could potentially match or exceed the worst rain events in those areas," he said. "Wind and rising water are things that we should be wary of. Always be aware of your surroundings."
Finally, if conditions worsen, Edwards said above all to listen to emergency personnel.
"Listen to the sheriff and other county officials, should we have to issue a disaster declaration," Edwards said. "The worst thing would be to be in a situation where we need emergency services personnel out there working and you have folks that aren't heeding the instructions that come with a disaster declaration."
The Emergency Operations Center can be reached at 753-4321.