Prepping for Sandy

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Municipalities across our area are preparing for Hurricane Sandy, taking precautions to try to minimize the effects.

Officials in Luzerne and Wyoming Counties are preparing for the several inches of rain expected from Sandy, but PPL says wind will likely cause more wide-spread problems, so the company is bringing in a lot of extra help.

Hurricane Sandy had people hard at work in Duryea, Luzerne County.

Loads of sand were dumped along River Street as crews worked to build a make-shift levee.

Wind is expected to be the major issue, but the forecasted several inches of rain had people trying to protect homes damaged by last year's historic flooding.

"There's a piece of dike that's missing about 300 feet and that's where the water came in in the September flood and it's been coming in there for years, and now what we're trying to do is have it blocked off," said Frank Gorblewski with the Duryea Emergency Management Agency.

The sandbags and more have Alan Anderson, who had water fill his basement last year, feeling a little better about this storm.

"We`re ready, we have stuff packed, we`re more prepared this time than the last time. Last time we were only supposed to get creeks rising and things like that, but it went over. So we`re more prepared this time," said Alan Anderson of Duryea.

Officials in Wilkes-Barre are also gearing up for Hurricane Sandy.

Floodgates along Waller Street are already closed. City officials said two of the four gates over the flood-prone Solomon Creek have been shut, making it easier to close the rest should the creek rise.

In Wyoming County, emergency officials have been meeting since Wednesday, putting plans in place for dealing with Sandy's effects.

The E.M.A. coordinator said river flooding is not expected to be a big concern.

"We`re looking at four inches of rain. That can cause flash flooding in the streams. That`s my concern. River flooding I’m not so concerned about right now. Our projections are we may have some minor flooding, but nothing to the magnitude of September of last year," said Gene Dziak, Wyoming County E.M.A. coordinator.

"We`ll be watching this storm. We`ll be here, we`ll be activated," he added.

PPL officials said wind will be a bigger issue in this storm, bringing down many tree limbs. An added problem this time of year is many trees still have a lot of leaves on them.

"That does two things. One, it adds to the weight because the leaves absorb some of the water, and also, it gives the wind something else to grab hold of as it goes through," said Rich Beasley, PPL spokesman.

Beasley said to deal with wind damage and outages, PPL is tripling its physical workforce, canceling vacations, using overtime and bringing in 1,500 crews from Kentucky and other states, including line crews, assessors and tree trimmers.

"If the storm is as bad as predicted, no matter how much we do in preparation, we`re asking our customers to still be prepared for power outages. Some of them could be lengthy," Beasley added.

To report a power outage, you can call 1-800-DIAL-PPL.

For information on reporting outages online and to get alerts about the status of outages in your area sent to your mobile device, click here.