Shumlin Declares State Of Emergency

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Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin declared a state of emergency on Saturday to ensure that the state is prepared as Hurricane Irene moves up the East Coast.

The storm is expected to hit the state with heavy rains, high winds and a lot of power outages Sunday into Monday morning.

Shumlin’s office said the National Guard is on state active duty and ready to help as needed. The state’s emergency management operations center also is opening at 7 a.m. Sunday.

"The important thing is we want people to prepare themselves," said Mark Bosma, spokesman for Vermont Emergency Management.

That includes stocking up on non-perishable food, water, flashlights and batteries, and knowing your escape routes. "Just be ready – hunker down for the day, for the night, and just use common sense," he said.

Vermont’s utilities said they expected hundreds of out-of-state workers from as far away as Illinois, Texas, Missouri and Canada to help with restoration efforts after the storm hits the state.

The utilities put out a joint statement Saturday saying the effort is the most extensive collaborative preparation they can recall.

They note that residents that lose power Sunday should be aware that in most circumstances, crews will not be attempting to restore power during the height of the storm. Although crews will respond to emergencies, utilities will wait until the storm has passed, which is expected to happen Monday morning.

The state Department of Agriculture, Food and Markets advised farmers and animal owners to take precautions, making sure they have an emergency plan for pets and livestock. Pets, for example, are not allowed to be housed with their owners in shelters operated by the American Red Cross.

Farmers with livestock are advised to provide additional reinforcement of all covers on feed stored outside in anticipation of strong winds; move farm equipment under cover wherever possible; make sure livestock have access to potable water and clean feed; and move livestock to accessible higher ground in advance of the storm in order to avoid exposure to flash flooding.

Many places will be closed Sunday, such as the Shelburne Museum. "With the extraordinary conditions predicted in association with this storm, for the safety of our visitors, staff and work crews, we felt this was the best decision given the potential size of the weather event," interim director Robert Skiff said.

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