PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Local leaders are talking about some of their concerns when Hurricane Sandy is felt here in our area.

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said there will be a conference call Monday morning with state representatives for a status update on what’s next in preparing for the storm.

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In the meantime, smaller towns in our area have already begun to prepare.

Sandy is expected to pack high winds with gusts in double digits and the possibility of downed power lines.

It’s not clear yet just how southwestern Pennsylvania is going to be affected by Hurricane Sandy, but the planning is underway for something big coming.

“We’re on alert. We have our emergency management folks, Alvin Henderson and his department are ready to go. The county managers on top of this, Public Works, we’re anticipating being prepared,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald said to take your lead from the county and get everything in place on Monday. Obtain extra water, supplies, food that won’t require cooking and then wait for more details on the storm’s path.

“Be prepared, I mean don’t be taking any unnecessary trips for example,” Fitzgerald said.

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If you live near a creek or in low lying areas, you know first-hand how threatening heavy rains and high waters can be. Hurricane Irene wasn’t all that long ago and areas such as Carnegie and Crafton that have seen flooding before are taking extra precautions now.

“Our Public Works people have been out there maintaining trying to get all the leaves around where the storm drains go into the curb so they don’t get blocked up and cause backup flooding into the street,” Crafton Mayor Jim Bloom said.

Maybe most importantly over the next few days, pay attention -to your surroundings, the weather and the watches because it could all change quickly.

“If we have to declare a disaster emergency area, then I’ll go ahead and do that,” Bloom said.

Although some school districts in other parts of the country have closed for the day on Monday, nothing like that is on tap for our area.

However, things could change come Tuesday.


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Lynne Hayes-Freeland