Officials prepare for possibility of Hurricane Sandy
State and local governments and agencies continue to keep an eye on the track of Hurricane Sandy, which could potentially impact the area early next week.
The storm was expected Friday to travel up the east coast over the weekend, according to the National Weather Service. While the storm's unusual path leaves much uncertainty as to what Pennsylvania should expect, Sandy is forecast to strike the mid-Atlantic or northeastern states by early next week.
Gov. Tom Corbett issued a proclamation of disaster emergency for the state Friday afternoon, stating that potential high winds and heavy rains could pose "a serious threat of flooding and other adverse impacts throughout the Commonwealth."
The resolution, in addition to proclaiming the existence of a disaster emergency, transfers up to $5 million in unused appropriated funds to the state Emergency Management Agency for disaster-related expenses, staffs the state's emergency operations center and authorizes other actions necessary for a disaster response to take place if necessary.
Meanwhile, local governments have kept an eye on the storm, preparing for what could arrive in the coming days. Athens Borough officials met Friday afternoon to review emergency plans to make sure everything was in place for the possible storm, according to a release from borough police.
Sayre emergency management officer Jim Daly began tracking the storm on Thursday and has kept in touch with forecasters, but he said the uncertainty of the storm's path has made planning difficult. In addition, forecasts can change in a matter of hours, as officials learned last year with Tropical Storm Lee, he said.
"The only thing we can do right now is just to keep an eye on it," Daly said.
PEMA has urged residents statewide to prepare for Sandy, which could possibly bring strong winds, heavy rains and even snow to the state.
In a release, the agency recommends getting together disaster preparedness supplies including flashlights, extra batteries, a portable battery-operated radio, a first aid kit, emergency food and water, and a non-electric can opener.
Penelec plans to mobilize employees and external resources in case the storm threatens electric service, according to a release from FirstEnergy Corp., Penelec's parent company.
Amanda Renko can be reached at (570) 888-9652; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.