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State of emergency declared ahead of Hurricane Sandy


State officials are working on storm preparations as projections shows Hurricane Sandy on track to make its way north along the Eastern Seaboard over the weekend and early next week. 

Late Friday, Governor Cuomo declared a state of emergency in New York as a precaution and to clear the way for local government to tap state resources in the event of major damage from storms next week. 

Cuomo says the state is also seeking a federal pre-disaster designation to have the National Guard on alert if needed and access to federal resources to prepare.  

New York was hit hard by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee last year.  Forecasters are now saying Sandy could be more damaging than last year's Hurricane Irene. Federal forecasters say when Sandy turns in to what some are calling ``Frankenstorm,'' it will smack the East Coast harder and wider than Irene. 

The hurricane is projected to hit the Delaware/New Jersey area early Tuesday morning. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo, speaking to reporters near Rochester Friday, says decisions will be made based on the storm's track.

"We're not waiting. We're not taking any chances. We've gone through Hurricane Irene and [Tropical] Storm Lee. We've seen the damage that it can do, so we're leaving no stone unturned. But we don't want to overreact yet, either," said Cuomo.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says wherever the storm comes ashore, there will be 10 inches of rain and extreme storm surges. Forecasters expect heavy rain, strong winds , power outages, and flooding. 

Sandy is now near the Bahamas.  It's expected to move up the coast and collide with a winter storm moving across the country and frigid air from Canada.

Cuomo is urging people to prepare storm kids.  They include non-perishable food, water, cash, filled prescriptions, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, first aid kit, flashlights and extra batteries.

Here in Western New York, significant amounts of rain and gusty winds are forecast.  Jim Mitchell, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Buffalo, says some heavy rain will begin Friday night and continue into next week.

"It looks like the rain will be stretched out over a few-days period. We're looking at anywhere between three and five inches, potentially. Being that spread out over time, we have a little flooding concern, but nothing really high right now," Mitchell told WBFO News.

Mitchell says as of Friday, weather models are looking less likely for any chance of snowfall, which was considered a possibility mid-week.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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