Raleigh, N.C., to Watch, Wait

For six hours before and six hours after the zero hour for Year 2000, key officials in Raleigh, N.C., will be hunkered downtown watching and waiting.

"Everything's going to be working," says Tim Wester, the city's information services manager. "We finished a month ago with testing. We think we're in good shape."

Nevertheless, representatives from the public utilities department, the fire department, the police department, the transportation department and the parks department will huddle in the basement of the 911 dispatch center to make sure. They will be watching the news to see how other parts of the world fare during the rollover while touching base with the city's mission-critical areas. Police and private security people also will protect those areas, which Wester declined to name.

Backup generators will be ready to power the pumping station from 11:30 p.m. on Dec. 31, until sometime during the weekend when things seem in the clear. Fire station personnel will get radios to stay in touch if the power goes out, and crews will be on standby with 800 manual stop signs ready to head to the city's intersections if traffic lights fail.

That said, Wester said Raleigh is more concerned about vandalism than computer snafus.

"It's things of that nature that we're more concerned about than Y2K," he said.

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