Pa. government agencies mobilize ahead of Sandy - abc27 WHTM

Pa. government agencies mobilize ahead of Sandy

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Government agencies have mobilized and say they are ready for whatever Hurricane Sandy throws at central Pennsylvania.

With little more than 48 hours until Sandy's wrath is expected to hit the midstate, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) has already planned for the worst.

Senior Deputy Director Bob Full said, "We're in full disaster mode here going forward."

Full has been working closely with the National Weather Service and other federal agencies to line up resources for a hard impact.

"Looks like Hurricane Sandy has got Pennsylvania in the crosshairs," he said.

State workers have been told to cancel vacations and be on call starting this weekend. PEMA will have extra staff on hand inside its command center starting Sunday. Full said crews will be working around clock to prepare for and weather the storm.

"PennDOT, State Police, National Guard, [Dept. of] Agriculture and [PEMA] are on the highest level of alert," said Full.

Workers will scan for floods and widespread power outages. Utility companies like PPL have also been watching the weather like a hawk. PPL spokesperson Jim Nulton said the power company's affiliates are on stand-by, ready to assist if needed. He said crews from Kentucky are even on-call if needed.

Nulton said he is doing this because of the enormity of the storm.

"In the case where you have a storm that is so gigantic, some of those resources we could normally count on will be in the heat of battle as well," said Nulton.

Meteorologists forecast high winds. PPL explained that could create a harmful scenario where many power lines are down. Nulton said the biggest warning PPL could offer is to never go near a downed power line.

"Always assume that they're energized," said Nulton. "[Power lines] create an electrocution safety hazard."

Emergency officials urge people to make a plan and stock up on essentials. Bottom line, PEMA said: "Be smart…prepare for the worst."

"There's no need to panic," said Nulton. "We do need to take this particular event serious right now."

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