Officials around Lower Bucks County are bracing for the impending arrival of Hurricane Sandy, asking residents to be aware of the weather conditions and be prepared in case of power outages.
Crews in Bristol Borough, Bristol Township, Falls Township and Tullytown Borough, which are along the Delaware River, spent much of Friday readying for the storm.
Area emergency management coordinators are asking residents be alert for downed power lines. They also said never to enter or drive through moving or standing water.
The large amount of rainfall and prolonged winds are a major concern with the storm system.
Officials in Bristol Township, Middletown and Tullytown said public works crews took to the streets Friday to clear storm drains and waterways of objects that could inhibit proper flow.
The riverfront community, which has numerous areas prone to flooding, operates a an emergency operations center out of it’s municipal building.
The borough’s emergency management team works closely with area police, fire and EMS agencies in a “unified command” to respond to the events like the impending storm, according to the borough.
Stores, including the Rite Aide on Pond Street, seemed more crowded than usual Friday afternoon. The store still had a hearty supply of water and food products.
Township Emergency Management Coordinator Kevin Dippolito said officials will continue to monitor the forecast over the weekend and plans to activate the community's emergency operations center, located in the basement of the municipal building.
One of the biggest flooding concerns for Dippolito is in the area where the Delaware River and Neshaminy Creek meet. If a storm surge hits the river, the creek could back up and spill its banks, he said.
Township crews spent part of Friday testing emergency radios and fueling up generators used to power traffic signals in case of power outages, Dippolito told Patch.
Rich Dippolito, who is the township’s lead emergency management official, said the community spent Friday readying for the storm.
The township announced the Quaker Penn Boat Docks will be removed from the water due to the storm.
All week emergency management officials in the large township have been holding meetings and talking to area emergency service providers about how to handle the storm, Fire Marshal and Emergency Management Coordinator James McGuire said. Meets are expected to continue throughout the weekend.
Authorities passed out letters Friday that warned residents in low-lying area of the impending dangers that might face them in the coming days. Since the township started distributing the letters several storms ago, McGuire said, water rescues have been reduced.
McGuire urged residents to tie down or remove loose items on their properties and be prepared for power outages.
During Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee last year, the township’s Langhorne section was hit especially hard by the flooding of the Neshaminy Creek. Playwicki Park suffered heavy damaged and only reopened months ago.
McGuire said the township’s storm operation center will be open starting Sunday evening.
“We are prepared as we can be,” acting Tullytown police chief and the borough emergency management coordinator Sgt. Dan Doyle said.
The township building will be used as a shelter on an as-needed basis, Doyle said.
The sergeant added that officials will be working throughout the storm and will be closely watching problem areas like Martin’s Creek and Fallsington Avenue.
Towns Up River Prepare
Lower Makefield and Yardley Borough officials told BucksLocalNews.com the communities are monitoring the storm system.
In the past, the two towns have been hit hard by flooding from the Delaware River.
Corbett Declares State of Emergency
Gov. Tom Corbett declared a state of disaster emergency for Pennsylvania Friday.
Officials from the state have been in contact with local and federal agencies.
The governor urged residents to gather food supplies for the storm and its expected aftermath.
Corbett said in a video statement that utilities companies and the National Guard are preparing to aide residents impacted by the so-called super storm.
County Urges Residents to to Plan Ahead
The Bucks County Emergency Management Agency and county leaders are asking that residents take steps to protect lives and property from effects of the storm.
"We are asking Bucks Countians to monitor up-to-date weather reports through radio, television, internet and text alerts, and always use common sense during the anticipated storm," Commissioner Chairman Robert Loughery said in a statement.
The county noted that storms like the ones in 2011 have demonstrated the effects that can be had.
"Don't drive into low-lying areas or over roads and bridges that are already under water. The average automobile can be swept off the road in 12 inches of moving water, and roads covered by water are prone to collapse. If you come upon a flooded street, take an alternate route. Turn around, don't drown," Bucks County Emergency Services Director John Dougherty said.
Under a new state law, motorists caught driving around or through “road closed” signs will be facing stiff punishments.
As of Friday evening, Hurricane Sandy was still tracking to make make landfall over the region in the next few days.