While the U.S. East Coast prepares for what forecasters say could be a storm of "historic" proportions, emergency management officials are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best for the storm dubbed "Frankenstorm".
A hazardous weather outlook issued by the National Weather Service early Saturday warns that prolonged rainfall is expected for the first half of the week.
"That rain may be heavy at times on Monday night and Tuesday and runoff may cause flooding of small streams," the weather service website states. "The potential for river flooding will have to be monitored during the second half of the week."
The National Weather Service also warns that windy conditions on Monday and Tuesday might cause minor damage and power outages.
The Allegheny County Emergency Operations Center's Chief Alvin Henderson said all local emergency management coordinators have been given information about the storm and plans.
"We are currently monitoring the situation and are ready to implement any changes that may be necessary,” Henderson said.
“Obviously, there is still a lot of uncertainty in the forecast for early next week with the track of Hurricane Sandy, although we expect to see rain and some snow for portions of our area,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald in a statement.
Locally, the American Red Cross Western Pennsylvania Region is preparing for the possibility of flooding and power outages in the area as a result of the storm. Volunteers and staff have been put on alert, supplies and resources are being inventoried and prepared, and preparations are being made for the possibility of opening shelters, according to Red Cross spokesperson Lauren Chapman.
Red Cross Community Evacuation Center Teams—community groups who are trained to quickly open shelters in their area in times of disaster—also are ready to join response efforts if needed.
For more information on how to make a disaster supply kit and how to prepare for all kinds of disasters, visit www.alleghenycounty.us/emerserv/preparelinks.aspx.
What you should do:
Henderson is urging residents to stock up on necessary items should a storm hit. He said residents should have on hand:
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries
- First aid kit and manual
- Emergency food and water
- Non-electric can opener
- Essential medicines/prescriptions
- Cash, credit cards and important legal documents
- Sturdy shoes
The forecast from the National Weather Service
- Today: Showers likely, mainly after noon. Cloudy, with a high near 53. North wind 5 to 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.
- Tonight: Rain likely. Cloudy, with a low around 42. North wind around 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.
- Sunday: Rain. High near 48. North wind around 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.
- Sunday Night: Rain. Low around 39. North wind 14 to 16 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.
- Monday: Rain. High near 43. Breezy, with a northwest wind 16 to 22mph, with gusts as high as 32 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New precipitation amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch possible.
- Monday Night: Rain. Low around 39. Windy. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New precipitation amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch possible.
- Tuesday: Rain. High near 42. Windy. Chance of precipitation is 80%.
- Tuesday Night: Rain and snow showers. Low around 34. Chance of precipitation is 80%.
- Wednesday: A chance of rain and snow showers. Cloudy, with a high near 40. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
- Wednesday Night: A chance of rain and snow showers. Cloudy, with a low around 39. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
Check back with Patch for updates.