HARRISBURG -- Gov. Tom Corbett says Pennsylvania is bracing for Hurricane Sandy's arrival, with 1,600 National Guard troops on call and a message for residents to prepare to stay inside for several days.
He described the approaching hurricane as "not a typical storm," pointing to the expected sustained high winds as a major concern. In Western Pennsylvania, snow is possible overnight Monday.
"It could very well be historic in nature and in scope and in magnitude because of the widespread anticipated power outages, flooding and potential major wind damage to the commonwealth," Mr. Corbett said during a news briefing at the state's emergency management headquarters here. "Essentially, this is a hurricane wrapped in a nor'easter."
Sustained high wind gusts could knock down tree branches, disrupting power lines and potentially delaying repairs, the governor cautioned.
In Pennsylvania, heavy rains are expected to begin Monday and continue into Tuesday. The southern and southeastern portions of the state are projected to take the heaviest hit, with some areas seeing between six and 10 inches of rain.
Officials are keeping close watch over the oil refineries near Philadelphia, Mr. Corbett said, noting that about 7 percent of the nation's refining capabilities come from the region.
"If this is as bad as the predictions look at the moment -- and I say at the moment, I really hope the weathermen are wrong -- but if it's that bad, this is when the whole state has to come together," he said.
The governor has another meeting on the storm's progress with cabinet members scheduled for this evening.
He encouraged residents to stock up on food, water, medication, baby supplies and pet food. Residents in flood-prone areas should prepare to evacuate, establishing a communication plan and preparing important documents and other necessities for travel.
The governor also urged residents to remove objects from porches and yards to prevent them from turning into flying projectiles.
Glenn Cannon, director of the state's emergency management agency, said county officials are the first line of defense, with state officials in contact with local agencies to provide assistance.
Mr. Cannon said that following last year's Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, the agency worked on its system for sharing information with local responders.
People with emergencies should continue to call 911, Mr. Corbett said. Motorists can call 511 or visit www.511pa.com for travel information.
He also directed residents to www.readypa.org, which was not working immediately after the news conference. Administration staffers said they are working to bring the webpage back online.weather - homepage - breaking - state