BUFFALO, NY - New York governor Andrew Cuomo has issued a State of Emergency in every county in the state in preparation for Hurricane Sandy.
"We want to make sure we're ready just in case," said the governor on Friday afternoon.
Governor Cuomo also asked President Obama for a pre-landfall disaster declaration, allowing New york State access to funds and FEMA resources.
Hurricane Sandy barreled into the Bahamas on Thursday after slashing across eastern Cuba, where it ripped off roofs and forced postponement of a hearing at the Guantanamo naval base but caused no reported deaths.
Although is spent Friday out at sea and may weaken slightly, Sandy is still gearing up for an assault from South Carolina to New England.
The storm track takes Sandy northward several hundred miles off the southeast coast. The storm will begin to turn northwestward on Sunday likely making landfall somewhere between Washington D.C. and Boston, MA late Monday into Tuesday.
Winds at the time of landfall will likely remain near hurricane strength carrying in a very high storm surge as well as flooding rains inland. The center of the storm will move inland over Pennsylvania spreading moisture westward into colder air producing snow over higher elevations of PA, VA, OH and here in WNY early in the week.
Rain showers will persist throughout our area over the weekend and much of next week with several inches of rain likely to fall over the weekend through Thursday of next week. Winds will increase as the center of Sandy moves inland with potential for damaging gusts. Temperatures will remain well below normal spending much of the next several days in the 40s by day and 30s at night.
Trick or treaters will most likely need to prepare for wet, cool and windy conditions.
With storm conditions projected to hit New Jersey with tropical storm-force winds on Tuesday, there is a 90 percent chance that most of the East Coast will get steady gale-force winds, flooding, heavy rain and maybe snow starting Sunday and stretching past Wednesday, said U.S. forecaster Jim Cisco.
New York State wants to be prepared, but not over-prepared, should the remnants of Hurricane Sandy strike New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday.
Cuomo is preparing to travel to Florida to campaign for President Barack Obama, but said if the weather gets too bad he won't make the trip.
"These past couple of days we've worked intensively, waiting for the latest, up-to-date weather information. We're not taking it lightly, we're leaving no stone unturned, but we also don't want to overreact," Cuomo said in Rochester during a campaign stop for congressional candidates.
For the 50 million people who live in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast - roughly one-sixth of the U.S. population - Hurricane Sandy's winds, rains and potential snow could ruin trick-or-treating plans next week, or worse.
It could hit New York on Sunday or into early next week.
"We are now 90 percent certain the storm will make landfall in the U.S.," said Louis Uccellini, director of NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction.
Sandy was blamed for the death of an elderly man in Jamaica who was killed when a boulder crashed into his clapboard house, police said. Another man and two women died while trying to cross storm-swollen rivers in southwestern Haiti.
Officials reported flooding across Haiti, where many of the 370,000 people still displaced by the devastating 2010 earthquake scrambled for shelter. More than 1,000 people were evacuated from 11 quake settlements, according to the International Organization for Migration.
In Cuba, authorities said they were worried about the damage Hurricane Sandy might have inflicted in small mountain villages still unheard from, but no deaths were reported.
"It crossed the entire eastern region practically without losing intensity or structure," said Jose Rubiera, the island's chief meteorologist.
Santiago, Cuba's second largest city near the eastern tip of the island, was spared the worst of the storm, which slammed into the provinces of Granma, Holguin and Las Tunas.
Cuban President Raul Castro ordered authorities to evaluate damage throughout eastern Cuba, and state media said they expected to release more information throughout the day.
There were no reports of injuries at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, but there were downed trees and power lines, said Kelly Wirfel, a base spokeswoman. Officials had canceled a military tribunal session scheduled for Thursday for the prisoner charged in the 2000 attack on the Navy destroyer USS Cole.
Far out in the Atlantic, post-tropical cyclone Tony kept weakening and posed no threat to land. The storm had maximum sustained winds of about 40 mph (65 kph) and was moving east-northeast at 22 mph (35 kph). Its center was about 615 miles (990 kilometers) southwest of the Azores.