The weather forecasters and the media have dubbed Hurricane Sandy to be the “storm of the century.” The National Weather Service (NWS) is already calling Sandy a “historic storm.” Governor Tom Corbett has already declared a state of emergency for the entire state.
Hurricane Sandy is responsible for over 40 dead, according to the Associated Press (AP). While Hurricane Sandy has been downgraded to a Tropical Storm, she still has potential to be a serious threat to Pennsylvania and the entire East Coast. Glenn M. Cannon, the director of Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), is urging Pennsylvania residents to prepare now for the possibility of strong winds, heavy rain and even snow as the storm moves north.
“This storm could combine with another system to bring some combination of snow, wind, rain and flooding to much of Pennsylvania,” Cannon said in a press release Friday. “This is the time to make sure everyone has an emergency kit in their home and car, and an emergency plan for taking care of each other in the event this storm brings its full destructive potential to our state.”
It is recommended that people prepare for two scenarios in the event of severe weather: to remain in their homes during the duration of a storm, or to evacuate if it is recommended or ordered by local authorities. Essentially any disaster plan should include sequestering and evacuation possibilities.
Residents should always have enough provisions in their homes to last at least 72 hours because help from emergency responders may not be immediately available when severe weather strikes.
Other disaster preparedness supplies to have at the ready include:
• Flashlights and extra batteries;
• Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries;
• First aid kit and manual;
• Emergency food and water;
• Non-electric can opener;
• Essential medicines/prescriptions;
• Cash, credit cards and important legal documents; and
• Sturdy shoes.
If residents are ordered by local officials to evacuate, they should do so without hesitating and should take important documents with them, including:
• Driver’s license;
• Credit card information;
• Birth certificates;
• Social Security cards; and
• Other forms and documents proving ownership/identity.
Cannon reminded drivers they should never drive into low-lying areas or over roads and bridges that are already under water. Just a few inches of moving water can sweep away the average car. Remember – Turn around, don’t drown.
“Personal preparedness is an essential part of emergency response and recovery,”
Cannon said. “The fact that we know about the potential threat we’re facing several days in advance is a gift that we can all take advantage of, so we can make sure we are ready for whatever comes our way.”
The NWS is predicting that the storm will intensify as it moves north. In a warning issued Friday, the NWS said the storm “has the potential to be a lard and record setting storm.” The storm may cause power outages in the area as well.