Phila. Mayor: 'Don't wait!' for Hurricane Sandy to arrive

PHILADELPHIA - October 26, 2012

"Do not wait until Monday to try to figure out what to do," Nutter said Friday. "If you live in a flood-prone area, make plans to stay with family or friends. We're calling on you to be out by 2:00 p.m. Sunday."

It sounds like the same drill we heard during 2011's Hurricane Irene. But city officials expressed more concern with Sandy's impact and how long she may be around.

Nutter said the city Streets Department has already been clearing more than 70,000 storm drains across the city.

Extra police will be on the streets, SEPTA is making a plan, 311 will have extended hours and shelters are getting prepared.

Emergency management officials don't want to panic people, just prepare them for the worst.

"There's a delicate balance," said Samantha Phillips, Deputy Managing Director for Emergency Management. "Take time to develop plans. We are giving you ample notice."

The city plans more updates on Saturday. There will be more information on shelters if they need to be opened, and any changes to mass transit schedules.

The mayor's office released a statement late Friday that included the following additional information:

The Philadelphia region can expect rainfall to begin on Sunday, October 28th, with the heaviest periods of rain and wind beginning Monday, October 29th and last into Tuesday, October 30th. The impact of the storm may be comparable to what the region experienced during Hurricane Irene in August 2011. Localized flash flooding is likely to occur on all rivers, streams and creeks. With the current forecast, sustained winds may reach 50 – 60 mph with gusts reaching 70+, which may cause widespread tree damage and power outages.

Philadelphia has many flood prone areas, including but not limited to:
-Eastwick and areas of Cobbs Creek
-Main Street Manayunk
-Delaware Avenue
-Kelly, MLK and Lincoln Drives
-River Road
-The areas surrounding Pennypack Creek, and others including like Poquessing, Tacony, Frankford, and Wissahickon Creeks.

The City has not announced plans to open shelter operations yet. There will be more information provided on this matter on Saturday, Oct. 27th. If the City opens shelters, 2 likely locations will be:
-Roxborough High School, 6498 Ridge Avenue
-West Philadelphia High School, 4901 Chestnut Street

The Department of Licenses & Inspections Commissioner Carlton Williams said that L&I inspectors were checking the status of about 300 imminently dangerous buildings in the city to make sure that all buildings are unoccupied. "With powerful winds and heavy rain, we're concerned with building and roof collapses," he said. Williams also urged construction companies with active construction sites or demolition sites to make sure that their building supplies are tied down and that debris is removed.

If a Power Outage Occurs:
-Keep a battery-operated radio tuned to local news for updates.
-Disconnect or turn off all appliances that would otherwise go on automatically when the power comes back on. If several appliances start up at once, they could overload the circuits.
-To prevent food spoilage, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
-Never touch or go near downed power lines.

If you do experience a power or service outage, it is important to contact the service provider to report the problem.

RELATED: How to prepare for Hurricane Sandy's arrival

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