By John Shumway

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — While it’s uncertain just how much rain we’ll get, even just the risk of flooding spurs emergency crews to be proactive. They can’t afford to just watch and wait, so they create a plan of attack.

Experience is a serious teacher; so when the first responders hear the potential for hail and tornadic activity, they can’t afford to take an “I’ll believe it when I see it” attitude.

Preparations are underway even before the calls for help start coming in.

Crews are being put on standby, and the director of Allegheny County’s Emergency Management says we all need to be securing things outside our homes.

“Any items that are on your porches or in your yards that could become projectiles in high winds,” said Alvin Henderson, of Allegheny County Emergency Management.

With the amount of rain these storms potentially could bring, nothing causes flooding faster than debris clogging up a creek or drain.

“We want to make sure the storm water is controlled the best we can, so we check the culverts, the creeks and streams that run through the city to make sure the pipes are clear and the water has access to those pipes,” said Rob Kaczorowski, of Pittsburgh Public Works.

Whether you’re in an area prone to flooding or vulnerable to the winds, the experts say is a good idea to put together a simple emergency kit now.

“That has your medications, change of clothes, batteries for a radio and have your cell phone fully charged,” Henderson said.

Also, know where you left your flashlight.

Meanwhile, at the Three Rivers Arts Festival tonight, it’s business as usual.

“We’re basically going to do business as usual. Our show occurs rain or shine,” said Shaunda Miles, an organizer of the festival.

They are hoping the timing of the storm will bring it after the evening’s activities have wrapped.

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