Governor Corbett: emergency responders "leaning forward"

Written by Matt Paul, Reporter/Producer | Feb 13, 2014 2:21 PM

PEMA headquarters

(Harrisburg) -- The State Emergency Operations Center has been operating at full tilt since the first flakes started flying late last night, and will remain that way until the massive winter storm finally subsides.

Governor Corbett calls it a significant event.

Despite more than 2,000 PennDOT and Turnpike trucks plowing the roads in the storm’s path, he says snowfall rates approaching two-inches-per-hour have are making things difficult.

“With PennDOT trucks, they have a normal route, and a normal route usually takes them about two hours. So you can understand that if they pass point A, and it takes them two hours to get back, and point A has experienced one to two inches an hour of snowfall – the snow’s going to be back there again,” he explained at a storm briefing from PEMA headquarters in suburban Harrisburg.

The governor is thanking midstate residents for staying off the road when possible, allowing snow plows and emergency responders to do their jobs.

Nearly 800 guard members have been called to their armories, mainly in southeastern PA, to assist emergency responders as needed. 

Staff at the emergency operations center are also monitoring power outages closely.

Because the state is already under an emergency declaration from last week’s ice storm, massive generators are pre-positioned at the Willow Grove National Guard base.  

Corbett notes dozens of cases of carbon monoxide poisoning, when nearly 900,000 Pennsylvania homes and businesses lost their power last week.

He’s urging anyone who loses power today not to use alternative methods of heat – like charcoal grills or gas ovens.

Symptoms of CO poisoning – like nausea, disorientation and fatigue – can often be mistaken for the flu.

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