State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Storm moves north, a dodged bullet for most of PA

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Oct 30, 2012 9:51 AM

State officials are still tracking Sandy as she moves northward and considering sending help to neighboring states dealing with major damage in the wake of the storm.

The storm continues to move north, with sustained winds between 25 and 30 miles per hour and gusts that aren’t much higher. State agencies are keeping an eye on future flooding potential downstream of the storm as it drops rain in the northern tier and New York.

Gov. Corbett said Tuesday morning Pennsylvania certainly didn’t see the damage that coastal states did.

“From what I see of the damage going on in New York and New Jersey -- the storm surge, the record wave heights, the tide heights – yeah we dodged a bullet, in that respect,” he said. “But anybody who’s without electricity probably is not saying that we dodged a bullet.”

It looks like the biggest challenge for the commonwealth from here on out is getting the power back on for those who woke up Tuesday in the dark -- roughly 1.3 million people, with PECO and MetEd being the hardest-hit companies, Corbett said.  He reminded people to be patient as utility workers head for the dark parts of the power grid to restore services.

“With the winds dying down, they’re going to get out, but if there’s trees blocking the roads, it’s going to take a while,” he said.

Neither nuclear power plants nor oil refineries in the eastern half of the state shut down as the storm passed over the state’s southeastern corner, but nuclear plants reduced their voltage, and refineries ramped down their output.

As of this morning, power plants and refineries are ramping back up to normal, said the governor and the chairman of the Public Utility Commission, Robert Powelson.

Speed and vehicle restrictions were lifted Tuesday morning on all but Interstate 90 and Interstate 79 in the northwest.

Another 100 National Guard soldiers have been deployed throughout the commonwealth, bringing the total to 1,700.

Roughly 600 people have checked into shelters throughout the commonwealth, which have the capacity to take in 31,000 people.

It’s possible the commonwealth will send resources to help New York and New Jersey clean up after the major flooding there. Gov. Corbett said he had a conference call scheduled for Tuesday afternoon with President Obama, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and New York Mayor Andrew Cuomo.

“We still have to check with other regions, you know, the southeast region of Pennsylvania,” said Corbett, “but if we have resources available, we will make [them] available.”

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