Forecasters say high winds could down trees and cause other damage in Ohio as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coat. flights heading to Eastern cities have been canceled at airports in Columbus, Dayton, Cleveland and the Cincinnati region.
Utility crews from Ohio have already been dispatched to assist the East Coast. First Energy spokesperson Mark Durbin says they left Sunday.
Durbin: We had probably about 200 linemen and additional support personnel,about a thousand leave from various points in Ohio heading east to New Jersey. It's going to hit the Jersey coast, it's going to hit eastern Pennsylvania, it's going to hit the hills of West Virginia, it's potential going to affect Ohio as well, to varying degrees.
On Lake Erie, most American and Canadian ships are either in port or are heading there, to avoid the heavy rains, winds and potentially 33-foot waves. Glen Nekvasil of the Lake Carriers Association says every ship's captain has to decide whether to head for home or set anchor.
Nekvasil: the waves, and the fluctuating water levels when you are in shallow water, those are the issues. Weather is difficult ot predict as we all know. The US Coast Guard is always prepared to do search and rescue missions.
Throughout Ohio, emergency responders are bracing for possible fallout from the weather. Tamara McBride with the state's Emergency Management Agency says the office has been in contact with local EMA's throughout the state.
McBride: We could have flooding, we could have power outages, so there certainly is some indication that there's going to be some impact, we just don't know how severe. So we're working with our state partners, just making sure everyone is standing ready and leaning forward, so that if anything does strike Ohio we can be ready out the gate.
On top off the high winds and rain, forecasters say some Ohioans will likely see the season's first snow tonight. Ran and high winds rolling into Central Ohio as a result of the hurricane are curtailing some construction projects. Bridge work on Interstate 71 at Long Street scheduled for tonight and tomorrow has been canceled, and Department of Transportation crews in 8 Central Ohio counties will report to ODOT garages tonight at midnight. A total of 30 highway workers and managers will monitor conditions, paying special attention to bridges. Today's rain and tonight's temperature drop could leave dangerous icy conditions on bridges and overpasses.