Sandy Strikes Schuylkill County

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POTTSVILLE -- The first parts of our area to deal with Sandy's wrath were in Schuylkill and Carbon counties.

The heavy rains and winds started in those areas Monday morning and our stormtracker 16 team expects those regions to get the highest rainfall totals around here.

For a PPL crew in Pottsville, this was one of the early calls to check out a possible power problem with many more likely to follow.

On the streets of Pottsville, inverted umbrellas became a common site as wind played games with those trying to stay dry.

“So far it’s not any worse than anything I've ever worked, but when I'm home I think it will be worse,” said Marsha Helper, Mail Carrier.

Helper was hoping to get her routes done and be safe at home before Sandy really hit hard.

It doesn't take long for the water to start to gather on streets. City officials said they're going to have crews out trying to keep up with all the storm drains and leaves because they clog up fast.

There were few people out braving the elements in downtown Pottsville.

The same in downtown Tamaqua, where wet, windswept streets kept most people indoors.

One place people were out in all the rain and wind, gas stations, like Turkey Hill in Hometown.

So many people got gas for generators and cars, that the place actually ran out of regular unleaded. They cut the price of premium to $3.59 so people could still fill up.

“I was very surprised. The first time I tried it I accidentally hit the wrong button so I had to redo it over again, and with the wind and everything it sucks,” said Eric Williamson of Barnesville.

Mike Helmer of Worley and Obetz Oil was out delivering gas near St. Clair, trying to stay dry. 

“It's just another day. I'm wet from the bottom of the coat down and my face that's it, but you get used to it,” said Helmer.

As the winds whipped the trees around him, the sound of a rising stream was roaring right near him, and the rain came flying in sideways, he was glad this was his last stop of the day.

“I’ll go home, turn on the television, turn on the generator if need be, and sit in a nice warm house,” said Helmer.

There was a meeting Monday afternoon of emergency management officials in Schuylkill County making sure everyone was on the same page as the worst of Sandy approached.

Potential problem areas will be monitored all night.