Utica, NY (WIBX) - The threat of high winds, heavy rains or worse is prompting a warning from Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente.

The following press release was issued by the County on Friday afternoon:

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. is urging all County residents to take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their families against the threat of high winds, heavy rains and possible flooding conditions should Hurricane Sandy track up the east coast early next week as some meteorological models predict.

“If the hurricane, which is now in the Caribbean and being blamed for as many as 22 deaths, makes landfall in the mid-Atlantic States on Sunday and then combines with a cold front moving into our region from Ohio, we could have the ingredients for a “perfect storm” in our area by Tuesday or Wednesday. Recent history teaches us that this could mean serious flooding conditions, downed trees and loss of power in areas of Oneida County. Residents need to take steps now to mitigate the impact these conditions might have on their personal safety and property, “ Picente said.

The County Executive said he has directed the Health Department to alert water and wastewater operators throughout the county to review their emergency plans and have them in place, vehicles and emergency generators fueled and water storage tanks filled. In addition, he urges all County residents to:

  • Know what the risks are in your area – do you live near a river or stream or in a low-lying area apt to flood?
  • Identify a family meeting place should you need to evacuate your home, and have an alternate place to go if your home is not safe or you are forced to evacuate.
  • Make sure you have an adequate supply of non-perishable foods, water and medications to last a minimum of three days for all family members and pets.
  • An emergency kit should include first-aid materials, important documents secured in a waterproof zip-lock bag, a hand crank radio and emergency cash.

Residents are urged to stay tuned to television, radio or internet updates and alerts, and to follow all emergency instructions. Evacuate your area at once if told to do so.

For more in depth on information making an emergency plan or preparing an emergency kit visit the health department web site at ocgov.net/oneida/health.