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Allegheny County, City Officials Poised To React As Storm Moves Through

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Superstorm Sandy made landfall Monday evening in New Jersey, and as the storm whips across the northeast, Pennsylvania remains under a statewide disaster emergency.

Authorities say 1,500 National Guardsmen have been placed on active duty.

Also, Gov. Tom Corbett has shut down some highways near Philadelphia, and there are speed restrictions on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. But people who don’t need to be out are asked to stay home.

“This is going to be a tough time for the next couple of days and we don’t want people to panic,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald held an evening briefing with the assurance that all public services are poised to react.

And as the rain continued to fall and wind continued to blow throughout the night, they also want to make sure residents are prepared.

“Make sure that their prepared with enough food, enough water, medicine for people that are in need because we anticipate that this could be a couple of days that we may have difficulties with roads, with bridges, etc., with power,” said Fitzgerald. “We just don’t know.”

Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh have been working with the Red Cross on the potential of evacuations.

“We will be posting that information through the media, and then also on the county website, Twitter, Facebook accounts, so we would inform the public where to go in case there is an evacuation,” said Allegheny County Emergency Services Chief Alvin Henderson.

For Public Works crews, much of the day was spent on prevention – like cleaning debris out of sewers so they don’t overflow.

And the City’s Swift Water Rescue Team spent Monday gearing up to snap into action at a moment’s notice.

“All of our public safety personnel have gone through a training process, and we’re much better prepared today then we were a year ago,” said Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. “Of course, we hope not to have to use that, but in the event somebody gets trapped in high water or goes into an area where they shouldn’t, these teams will respond quickly.”

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