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Local Red Cross efforts for superstorm Sandy

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PRINCETON — Bureau County residents wanting to help in recovery efforts for the victims of tropical storm Sandy are encouraged to make sure they are going about that assistance in the best way.

On Monday, Bureau County Red Cross Director Lori Compton said financial assistance is what will be needed from this area for this week’s expected hit of tropical storm Sandy along the East Coast. The stockpiling and transporting of supplies from the Bureau County area is more difficult and it’s much more efficient to collect monetary donations and have the Red Cross handle the purchase of needed supplies through the local neighborhoods where they are needed, Compton said.

In writing checks to the Red Cross, Compton said it’s important to write “Disaster Relief” on the memo line of the check, but not to designate the money to any specific relief effort, like the Sandy storm victims, Compton said. All money collected locally will be sent through the proper Red Cross channels and distributed to meet the on-site needs, she said.

The American Red has already opened some emergency shelters along the East Coast and expects to open more shelters as the needs increase, according to Dave Pattengale, regional emergency services director for the Red Cross Midwest River Region. Hundreds of disaster workers are ready with relief supplies and emergency vehicles in place to help, he said.

On Sunday, the National Weather Service issued a warning for East Coast residents that tropical storm Sandy, called a superstorm by meteorologists, is expected to bring high winds, power outages, widespread flooding, torrential rains, and even some snow for the mid-Atlantic and Northeast states.

In his statement, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration environmental-prediction chief Louis Uccellini said the impact of Sandy is expected to be far-reaching.

“We’re looking at an impact of greater than 50 to 60 million people,” Uccellini said. “As much as one-third of the country could be affected.”

Tropical storm Sandy, then designated as Hurricane Sandy, hit the Caribbean area last week, causing extensive damage and injuries, including at least 60 deaths. As Sandy moved north from the Caribbean, it joined with two other winter storms to form a rare hybrid storm, according to meteorologists. The magnitude of the hybrid storm is expected to cause problems for more than 800 miles from the East Coast to the Great Lakes, hitting the United States on Monday.

Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, said the storm is so big, and the joining of three storms so rare, that “we just can’t pinpoint who is going to get the worst of it.”

However, according to WQAD meteorologist James Zahara, the superstorm won’t be felt too strongly in the Quad Cities and Bureau County areas.

“As expected, Sandy’s approach to the New England coast has stopped the progression of weather systems to its west,” Zahara said Monday morning. “Fortunately, that has and will put us in this tranquil stage for at least the next several days. What’s even better is a surface ridge of high pressure has squeezed its way right across our area providing an ample amount of sunshine in our forecast in the days to follow as well.”

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