HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Corbett today declared a statewide disaster emergency to enable state, county and municipal governments to respond effectively to the impact of Hurricane Irene, a massive storm expected to impact much of the eastern half of the state.
The proclamation authorizes state agencies to use all available resources and personnel as necessary to cope with this emergency situation.
Corbett issued the disaster proclamation this morning after meeting with Glenn Cannon, director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, and other emergency officials at their headquarters in Harrisburg.
“We are urging all Pennsylvanians to take action now to be prepared,” Corbett said. “We will continue to monitor this changing situation statewide and plan for all possible emergencies. Should the need arise, we will be able to help as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
Citizens can find a full list of helpful suggestions on how to plan for an emergency by visiting the state’s preparedness website, www.ReadyPA.org, or by calling 1-888-9-READY-PA.
The state’s Emergency Operations Center has been monitoring conditions statewide, as well as communicating with other states and federal officials, to assess conditions and coordinate any response necessary to support Pennsylvania’s counties and municipalities in the affected areas.
The latest weather forecasts predict that the eastern portion of the state will bear the brunt of the storm with heavy rains of up to 10 inches, and strong winds gusting to 60 mph or more. The combination of wind and rain could result in downed trees and utility lines, possibly resulting in extensive power outages and flash flooding.
In addition, state emergency officials are in communication with multiple state agencies, including the state departments of Transportation, Health, Public Welfare, General Services, State Police, Pennsylvania National Guard, Turnpike Commission, Public Utility Commission and the American Red Cross, to make sure supplies and personnel are ready if needed.
Individuals needing assistance should call their local municipal emergency management office in the “Blue Pages” section of the phone book or, if they have an emergency, should call 911 immediately. Never call 911 to request or report road conditions. When calling 911 to report an emergency, it is critical for callers to stay on the line, even if for an extended series of rings, until the operator answers.
Motorists can check road conditions on state roads by calling 511 or visiting www.511PA.com. Available 24 hours a day, the number provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, average traffic speeds on urban interstates and access to more than 500 traffic cameras. Regional Twitter alerts are also available on the 511PA web site.