Weather models could change South Whitehall Township's current plans, but as of Friday afternoon, Oct. 26, Township Manager Jon Hammer said their Emergency Operations Center would open sometime Sunday evening in the administration building off Walbert Avenue.
"We are in full preparation mode for the upcoming storm," Hammer said. "We've been monitoring the track of the storm and we're concerned about heavy rains and high winds."
The township is planning to have extra police, fire and public works personnel on duty and on call starting Sunday. The EOC will be manned by six to eight people around the clock.
The phone number for weather-related emergencies will be released soon, according to Hammer. Patch will update this story when it's available.
If necessary, Hammer said, the township will notify residents using a reverse 911 call. During the October 2011 storm and Hurricane Irene this call was well-received by residents. Current weather models are predicting the storm could hit Monday or Tuesday.
If anyone finds themselves in need of shelter - Parkland School District's Troxell Building will be used for emergency shelter.
Hammer suggested homeowners secure outdoor furniture and make sure storm drains are clear. He also asked residents to check on their neighbors, especially the elderly.
In Lehigh County, emergency management officials are checking on personnel, equipment and vehicles in preparation and keeping abreast of the storm's track.
"There's so much variable in this storm," said Tom Nervine, the director of Lehigh County's Emergency Services.
Nervine is coordinating with municipalities and agencies to figure out such things as: "What are the needs going to be? What are the unmet needs going to be? Where are the holes in the ice?"
Municipal officials will know the trouble spots in their community, such as which streets are prone to flooding, he said.
Most important, he said, "We are concerned that people take this seriously...They have to be ready for it."
He said residents should take the next few days to prepare, checking to make sure they have batteries in their flashlights, their gutters are cleaned out, and the like.
The state's tips for preparing are on their website.
Parkland School District has mobilized Maintenance, Grounds and Custodial personnel to:
- Check operation of all building sump pumps.
- Clear all drains in parking lots, access roads, walkways.
- Clear all roof drains.
- Check the operation and fuel level in all emergency generators.
- Secure loose items outside, including garbage cans, playground equipment, sports equipment, etc.
- Make sure snow and salt equipment and supplies are ready in case we get snow from this storm.
According to Parkland's website, its Food Services Department is also planning ahead for a potentially dangerous storm as follows:
- Milk and Bread deliveries will be ordered early in the week to ensure we have product to serve for the rest of the week in case flooding in some areas is a problem for deliveries.
- The Emergency Management Team of Lehigh County has asked if Parkland School District could provide breakfast, lunch and dinners to shelters in the county if needed. We will do this if we are able.
- Shelf-stable products are to arrive on Monday at the high school and Troxell in case of emergency or if we need to provide meals for the county. All of these items can be sold in the school cafeterias if they are not used by the county.
- Cases of bottled water are on hand at Troxell.
- Each school has developed a plan to serve cold meals, if needed, next week.
PPL spokesman, Joe Nixon, released the following information:
We are monitoring the weather reports and making preparations to deal with what forecasters are expecting to be a major storm.
We will bring to bear all available resources to respond to whatever impact Hurricane Sandy has on Pennsylvania and be fully staffed 24/7 beginning Monday.
We have already contacted our sister utilities in Kentucky — Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas and Electric — and are making plans for their crews to join us as early as Sunday night. We’ve also called on utilities from other states for assistance, from locations including Texas, Arkansas and Utah. In addition, we’ve notified all of our contractors who normally assist in storm restoration to remain local and we're canceling any time off for our operations personnel next week.
Expanding staffing is the one of the most significant steps we can take in preparing for a major storm. Since a year ago, on the heels of the October snowstorm, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, PPL Electric Utilities has made many improvements to better respond to major storms -- in particular, upgrading customer service systems to ensure we can handle increased customer call volume and improving information available for customers.
We're expanding our staffing for round-the-clock operations, and we're doing everything we must do to be ready for whatever Sandy may bring.
Lastly, we remind our customers that we want them to consider their own safety with severe storm conditions and be sure to notify us if they lose service. The more information we can gather, the better we can assess the storm's damage and prioritize our repairs. Customers can report their outages to PPL by phone (1-800-342-5775) or online at pplelectric.com, which also is formated for mobile devices.