Essex and Franklin counties have issued local emergency orders as Hurricane Sandy makes its approach.
The executive order declaring the state of emergency in Franklin County states that the storm poses an imminent danger to the county and may cause widespread power outages and flooding, damage to homes, apartments and businesses, and other potential health and safety threats.
Both counties have set up emergency operations centers.
Essex County's EOC will be housed in Lewis, and county offices will be closed until midnight Tuesday.
Jay town Supervisor Randy Douglas, chairman of the Essex County Board of Supervisors, said in a press release that non-essential travel should be limited and that "significant power outages and road closures are anticipated to occur." A state of emergency has also been called in the town of Jay, and Douglas said he anticipates that other Essex County towns will follow suit before day's end.
"At this point, it is not anticipated that we will have Irene type rain fall, but flash flooding may occur in flood prone areas," Douglas wrote in an email to county employees.
Essex County's EOC opened at noon today and will be used to coordinate emergency response.
"The EOC houses County and State agencies so that a well coordinated response to the needs of communities can be conducted," the press release said.
The Franklin County EOC is at the county Public Safety Building at 55 Bare Hill Road in Malone. County officials like Highway Superintendent John Hutchins and Department of Social Services Commissioner Lesley Lyon, as well as representatives from several state organizations including the Department of Transportation, will be based out of that building while the EOC is operating.
The county emergency orders follow similar declarations made on the state and federal level. The federal declaration lets the federal government provide "assistance and resources to New York State and local governments to support activities related to evacuation, sheltering, and other protective measures," according to a statement on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's website.
The American Red Cross has opened an emergency shelter at the Town of Jay Community Center on School Lane in AuSable Forks.
Franklin County's bus routes are canceled from 6 p.m. today until at least noon Tuesday, and the Franklin County Department of Motor Vehicles satellite office in Saranac Lake is set to be closed Tuesday. The DMV office in Malone was set to be opened unless weather forces its closure. DMV officials advise that people call the Malone office at 518-481-1606 to check if it's open before traveling there.