Corbett places Pennsylvania troops on call as storm nears

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HARRISBURG -- Gov. Tom Corbett says Pennsylvania is bracing for Hurricane Sandy's arrival, with 1,600 National Guard troops placed on call and a request filed seeking a federal emergency declaration.

Mr. Corbett, who already issued a statewide disaster proclamation, said during a news conference Sunday afternoon that residents should be prepared to stay inside for several days if the storm lives up to expectations.

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 tonight and into Tuesday.

"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 at the state's emergency management headquarters. "Essentially, this is a hurricane wrapped in a nor'easter."

High wind gusts could knock down tree branches, disrupting power lines and potentially delaying repairs, the governor cautioned.

Throughout the state, heavy rains are expected to begin today, continuing into Tuesday. The southern and southeastern portions of the state are projected to take the heaviest hit, with some areas seeing between 6 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.

In his letter to President Barack Obama, the governor requested assistance in providing food and shelter to displaced residents, as well as supplies for field hospitals, portable restrooms and support from military firefighting teams.

Mr. Corbett 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. He also urged residents to remove objects from porches and yards to prevent them from turning into flying projectiles.

Glenn Cannon, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency director, said county emergency responders are the first line of defense, with state officials in contact with local agencies to provide assistance. People with emergencies should continue to call 911, Mr. Corbett said. Motorists can call 511 or visit for travel information. He directed residents to for additional tips on preparing for the storm.

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Bureau chief Laura Olson: or 717-787-4254. Karen Langley: or 717-787-2141.


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