Updated at 3:07 p.m.
Local officials are asking residents to prepare for Hurricane Sandy before it hits New Jersey early next week.
The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook for Bergen County, warning that heavy rain, floods and high winds could hit the area, depending on which way Hurricane Sandy goes. Some forecasters have called Sandy a "Frankenstorm" as it may bring an unusual mix of hurricane and winter storm conditions.
Woodcliff Lake Reservoir
Local officials have asked United Water to release water from the Woodcliff Lake Reservoir and other area reservoirs before Sandy hits so as to allow the reservoirs to catch as much of the storm water as they can.
The Woodcliff Lake Reservoir was about four feet below capacity as of Friday morning, according to Birkner. Based on previous storms, that would allow the reservoir to handle three or four inches of rainfall over 24-30 hours, depending on how heavily the rain fell. Some forecasts have predicted double that amount of rain.
Birkner travelled to Princeton Friday morning to meet with officials from the DEP and the governor's cabinet to make the case for a controlled release.
United Water representatives had not yet responded to requests for comment as of Friday afternoon.
Speaking in Hillsdale Friday afternoon, Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno said state officials were considering ordering a controlled release from the reservoir. The item was one on a long "checklist," she said.
Residents Prepare For The Worst
Westwood and Hillsdale residents in low-lying neighborhoods were already preparing for Sandy Friday.
Lafayette Avenue resident Jerry Pasinski said he was moving all the furniture he could upstairs.
Westwood Mayor John Birkner warned residents that they may need to be ready to evacuate. Local firefighters had to use boats to rescue some residents from their flooded homes after Hurricane Irene.
"All of the usual precautions are in place, but we are at the mercy of mother nature," Birkner said.
In order to help minimize any flooding, officials are asking Westwood, Hillsdale and Washington Township residents to refrain from putting out any leaves by the curb before Sandy hits.
The Hillsdale DPW was vacuuming leaves out of flood-prone neighborhoods, specifically the areas around Glendale and Beechwood Drives and also around Hopkins Street and Overbrook Place, according to Superintendent Keith Durie.
"We want to make sure the storm drains function properly," Durie said.
The Westwood DPW was also working Friday to clean out any clogged catch basins in the borough.
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