Gov. Tom Corbett is declaring a state of disaster emergency for Pennsylvania amid increasingly dire forecasts that show a so-called super storm hitting it and neighboring states in coming days.
Mr. Corbett's declaration comes as state emergency management officials urged residents to have three days of supplies at home -- including batteries, water and food -- in case of widespread power outages.
Federal forecasters said Friday that a brewing monster weather system involving Hurricane Sandy is expected to pummel the East Coast harder than Hurricane Irene, which last year left hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians without power and eventually led to historic flooding.
Sandy is expected to merge with a wintry front to create a mess that some have dubbed "Frankenstorm" with hundreds of miles of steady, damaging winds and rain.
State and county officials urged people today to prepared themselves for two possible scenarios -- evacuation or temporary entrapment -- as Hurricane Sandy, also known as "Frankenstorm," makes its way up the East Coast.
Allegheny County executive Rich Fitzgerald, echoing a statement issued by state Emergency Management Agency director Glenn M. Cannon, urged residents to stock up enough supplies that they could survive in their homes for 72 hours, if the hurricane brings strong winds, heavy rains and possibly snow to the area.
Among the items people should have are flashlights with extra batteries, battery-operated radios, first aid kits, food and water, non-electric can openers, prescription medications, sturdy shoes, cash and important documents, state and county officials said.
Residents should also have checkbooks, driver's licenses, credit card information, birth certificates, social security cards and other identifying documents packed together in case they need to make an emergency evacuation.
Allegheny County chief of emergency services Alvin Henderson said in a news release that he has contacted all of the county's municipal emergency coordinators and has been in regular contact with state officials and meteorologists to prepare for the storm.
The county's public works department has been servicing snow removal equipment since Oct. 1 and has trucks with salt ready to move, public works deputy director Bernie Rossman said in a statement.
"Obviously, there is still a lot of uncertainty in the forecast for early next week with the track of Hurricane Sandy," Mr. Fitzgerald said in the statement. "Our Chief of Emergency Services and his staff have been constantly monitoring the reports on the storm and are readying our center to be able to respond to whatever this region may see as a result of Hurricane Sandy."
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First Published October 26, 2012 9:45 PM