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Hurricane Sandy: Pennsylvania in a State of Emergency

State and federal officials say the slow moving "Frankenstorm" will impact a large part of Pennsylvania through Halloween.

UPDATE: Sunday, 4:30 p.m.— In a press conference, Gov. Tom Corbett said when the "Frankenstorm" (Hurrican Storm Sandy mixing with a Nor'easter) turns into Pennsylvania Monday, it could bring "unprecedented" flooding and power outages. Small streams and rivers are expected to flood and sustained winds will affect the entire state. What will make it worse, Corbet, said, is that it will be a full moon, creating higher tides in addition to flooding.

Corbett has asked the Federal Government for disaster assistance. He has put 1,600 National Guard troops on standby. And if you live in a flood prone area, he said,  be prepared to evacuate. When the weather starts Monday afternoon, Corbett urges residents to stay home and off the roads.

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State and federal officials on Saturday night warned Pennsylvania residents to prepare for widespread flooding and power outages caused by Hurricane Sandy.

The storm, which is expected to come ashore along northern New Jersey late Sunday into early Monday, is expected to affect 50 to 60 million people along the East Coast.

States of emergency have been declared in Maryland, New York, Virginia, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. Gov. Tom Corbett declared the emergency Friday after forecasters predicted the storm will put Pennsylvania in the flood zone.

Flooding is the main focus of forecasters and federal disaster response agencies for now, according to Louis Uccellini, director the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Center For Environmental Prediction.

Uccellini said the "extent of heavy rainfall has a danger of flooding for Pennsylvania and Maryland and into northern Virginia."

Sandy is expected to merge with a nor'easter to create a "Frankenstorm" hundreds of miles wide, bringing damaging winds and rain.

"Given the amount of rainfall and the period of time that it's falling over, we expect river flooding to be significant from about 48 hours from now on," Uccellini said. "We're looking at the river valleys in Pennsylvania and Maryland then into New Jersey very carefully."

Officials in Bucks County and Montgomery County on Friday called for residents to prepare for the storm by having three days of supplies at home—including batteries, water and food—in case of widespread power outages.

"Every storm is different," said Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center, "so if you were not impacted by a past storm that doesn't mean it will be exactly the same for you this time."

Federal forecasters said Friday that the "Frankenstorm" involving Hurricane Sandy is expected to smash into the East Coast harder than Hurricane Irene, which left hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians without power and led to historic flooding in late August 2011.

"So, there's going to be an inland flood potential," Knabb said. "This is not just going to be a coastal event, although the hazards do start at the coast with the storm surge and exactly who gets the worst of the storm surge is difficult to pinpoint right now."

Also of concern to officials are the strong winds that are expected to cause extended power outages.

"Based upon the wind speeds, we don't expect substantial structural damages,"  Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate said. "What we think the primary impact is going to be is trees and tree limbs down and whatever roof damage from trees coming down as well as power lines. The primary concern with wind is going to be extensive, perhaps widespread power outages due to trees coming down, limbs coming down."

The large size of the storm, which could potentially cover the eastern third of the country, will cause multiple weather-related issues that will vary from region to region.

Once the storm makes landfall, it is expected to track east to west before heading north and being taken up by a storm system coming out of Canada.

Come back to Patch for live updates on the storm as it comes through the area. Let us know what you are doing to prepare.

 Resources:

Pete October 28, 2012 at 01:34 AM
Any idea if there is a time frame when the state of emergency goes into effect?
Pat October 28, 2012 at 02:46 AM
The state of emergency will probably be until the threat has passed and the aftermath has been cleaned up. Basically, they are saying prepare yourselves because there is a major storm with us in the crosshairs. Good luck.
Doll October 28, 2012 at 03:17 AM
Thanks for the response, Pat.
Jerry Brahm (Editor) October 28, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Yes, it seems open-ended at this time, but Mayor Nutter of Philly declares a state of emergency for the city from 5 a.m. Sunday to 5 p.m. Tuesday
sue s. October 28, 2012 at 11:04 AM
During the state of emergency are private citizens allowed on the roads?
Luke S October 28, 2012 at 01:03 PM
It varies. This time, yes you are allowed on the roads, there were no travel restrictions with this state of emergency.
Eric S October 28, 2012 at 02:06 PM
So what exactly is a state of emergency? What does it change, how does it affect people directly? I just moved to Wisconsin a month ago so I am just a spectator on this one but I am a veteran of several hurricanes, include smackdab in the middle of Andrew in 1992. Take it seriously folks. Have a room to run to if your house is breached, something with no windows such as a bathroom. Pack a bag of essentials including important documents. Know where you are going to go should you be forced out of your home. Have your vehicle facing out, ready to leave. Put pets in carriers. I doubt it's going to be as drastic a storm as Andrew or Katrina but expect power outages and road closures. I have 3 daughters, two sisters and my mother in the strike zone but my prayers are for all of you. Good luck.
Sheila Mcguane October 28, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Where is the emergency shelter for central bucks ?
Tom Sofield October 28, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Thanks for passing along your advice, Eric! I hope readers follow it!
Sarah Larson October 28, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Sheila, one hasn't been designated yet. Bucks County gov't is opening its emergency operations center at 5 a.m. on Monday, but that's for county officials to monitor and respond to the storm. No official shelters have been named for Bucks. Here's the latest from the Red Cross: The shelter locations and opening times are as follows: Unless otherwise noted, all are pet friendly. Philadelphia: (All open at 4pm Sunday) West Philadelphia High School, 4901 Chestnut Street Roxborough High School, 6498 Ridge Avenue Samuel Fels High School, 5500 Langdon Street Montgomery County: Pottstown High School, 750 North Washington St., Pottstown 19464 (Opens Sunday 7pm) Cheltenham High School, 500 Rices Mill Road, Wyncote 19095 (Opens Sunday 7pm) Norristown High School, 1900 Eagle Dr., Norristown 19403 (Opens Sunday 7pm) Chester County: Avon Grove High School, 257 E. State Road, West Grove 19390 (Opens Sunday 7pm) Lionville Middle School, 550 W. Uwchlan, Avenue Exton 19341 (Opens Sunday 7pm) Delaware County: Showalter Science and Discovery School, 1100 West 10th St., Chester 19013 (Opens Sunday 7pm) Bucks County: TBD
Roger Dattner October 28, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Sheila- I read your question and Sarah Larson's response. I have checked all over to try to find out about any emergency center in Bucks (I'm in Doylestown). If you find out anything about an emergency shelter, would you please let me know? Thank you so much. Roger
Positive Thinker October 28, 2012 at 04:44 PM
What are the restrictions during this state of emergency in Pa?
nancy anderson October 28, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Concerned about going to work from NJ to Phila, via Ben Franklin Bridge. Will it even be possible or are there restrictions?
Gaylw October 28, 2012 at 10:42 PM
With a state of emergency declared in PA, why would local school office personnel be required to report to work? They certainly are not emergency personnel and should not be required to travel.
Tom Sofield October 29, 2012 at 12:03 AM
Red Cross just passed along a list of shelters in Bucks: Palisades High School, 35 Church Hill Road, Kitnersville, 18930 (Opens TONIGHT 7pm) Pennsbury High School East, 705 Hood Blvd., Fairless Hills, 19030 (Opens Monday 10/29 9am) Council Rock North, 62 Swamp Road, Newtown, PA 18940 (Opens Monday 10/29 9am)
tina October 29, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Are daycares reguired to close
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Are day cares required to close
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Has anyone frigured out if daycare centers are required to close?
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