Emergency Management Says 'All Hands On Deck' For Sandy

10/29/12 12:22PM By Steve Zind

AP/Toby Talbot
Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn holds a news conference on Hurricane Sandy at the emergency operations center on Monday in Waterbury.

The effects of Hurricane Sandy are already being felt in Vermont. Utilities say there are already more than 1,000 customers without power in Windham, Bennington and Orleans counties.

Those are among the regions of the state that are expected to be hit with the highest winds, which have already begun to pick up as the storm washes over the East Coast.

Experts say the western slopes of the Green Mountains are where the strongest winds may be.

And Jeremy Baker of Green Mountain Power says Rutland is an area of concern.

"Our meteorologist is calling Rutland ground zero and there will be down-sloping winds off the Green Mountains on the western slopes - gusts of up to 65 to 70 miles per hour - and even in the valleys you could see 45 to 60 miles and hour," Baker says.

Emergency management officials across the region say they're prepared for whatever comes over the next few hours.

State police teams and rescues teams are staged and standing by in case they're needed.

Officials at the Emergency Operations Center in Waterbury are urging Vermonters to use the final hours before the storm arrives to prepare for high winds and power outages.

Vermont State Police Director Colonel Thomas L'Esperance says rescue teams and all troopers are being mobilized.

"All of our public safety answering points - Derby, Williston, Rutland and Rockingham - are all fully staffed now," L'Esperance says. "Every trooper will be on duty beginning at 5 tonight, either on duty or on a standby status and our resources and assets have been spread across the state and they're ready to be deployed as needed."

Officials say Vermonters should make sure they have fresh water, food, batteries and other supplies to last until power is restored. 

Peak winds are expected between late this afternoon and early tomorrow morning.

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