By Lynne Hayes-Freeland

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With a slow, steady rainfall throughout the day, City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County officials say they are preparing for whatever Hurricane Sandy might bring our way.

Both the City and County say they have set up storm command centers.

“Our crews are preparing and expecting the worst, and of course, hoping and praying for the best,” says Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

There’s only so much preparation that can be done ahead of time, but the city says, it’s happening.

“City crews, including our Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, spent the weekend cleaning catch basins and culverts,” Mayor Ravenstahl said. “They’re also out there as we speak doing that work.”

Scenes like the tragedy that was Washington Boulevard where four people died in 2011 sparked changes, like gates to control flash flooding and new training for personnel.

“We trained over 1,600 public safety employees in swift water rescue,” said Michael Huss, the city’s director of public safety. “We’ve deployed over 1,000 personal floatation devices, water rescue throwbacks; so, not only are they trained but they’re equipped in all the police cars, fire trucks, ambulances to respond to anybody that may become trapped in swift moving water.”

And countywide, municipalities have joined forces to react to whatever comes our way.

“We want people to really understand that probably for 72 hours, there’s something to make sure they’re prepared for enough food, enough water, medicines for people that are in need because we anticipate this could be a couple of days,” Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald added.

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