Mayor Michael Nutter has declared a state of emergency in Philadelphia, beginning at 4 p.m. Sunday, as Hurricane Sandy continued to roll up the East Coast.
The mayor also announced the opening of three shelters, as of 4 p.m. Sunday, for residents who live in flood-prone areas. Those shelters include one at Fels High School, 5500 Langdon St., in Northeast Philadelphia. The two other shelters are Roxborough High School and West Philadelphia High School.
Though the exact dimension of the storm expected to slam the city were unclear — a hurricane or a strong tropical storm — the mayor said there was no doubt that Philadelphia was facing a major threat.
“For us, whatever it may ultimately be, we are certain that a huge storm is coming in the direction of Philadelphia,” Nutter said at a news conference Saturday. “It poses a serious threat.”
Heavy rains, flooding and sustained high winds were expected, a triple whammy that only would be intensified by the high tides associated with a full moon on Monday.
The rain was expected to begin Sunday afternoon and become very heavy overnight. The rains were expected to last 24 to 36 hours. Sustained, powerful winds were expected Monday and Tuesday, toppling trees and causing power outages.
“As a river city, we are also very concerned about the storm surge. We are looking at the prospect of a 4-to-8-foot rise… We could see record flooding of the Delaware and feeder streams and creeks like the Pennypack,” he said.
The mayor said his declaration of emergency would be in effect through 5 p.m. Tuesday.
He encouraged those who live in flood-prone areas, including areas around the Pennypack Creek, to be in touch with family and friends and be prepared to move out of their homes by 2 p.m. Sunday.
Those who move into shelters will find food, water and a place to sleep. They should bring comfort items and their medications, he said.
In addition, family pets are welcome at the shelters. “Please do not forget your pets,” Nutter said.
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