Mayor Michael Nutter said Friday the city has begun preparing for Hurricane Sandy and he encouraged residents to make emergency plans.
Nutter said residents in flood-prone areas such as Manayunk, Eastwick, the Cobbs Creek area, Pennsport and near the Delaware River, are urged to make arrangements to stay with a friend or family member and evacuate their homes by 2 p.m. Sunday before the brunt of the storm is expected to hit.
"Do not wait until Monday to try to figure out what to do," he said.
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The mayor said the Philadelphia Water Department has begun mobilizing crews to clear out inlets in low-lying areas to allow for proper drainage. He said residents can help by clearing leaves and other debris from the street.
No shelter locations have been established yet, Nutter said, but West Philadelphia High School and Roxborough High School could be utilized to temporarily house displaced residents if necessary.
Emergency officials said residents should have ample supplies in an emergency kit, including batteries, a battery-powered radio, water and non-perishable food items in case of widespread power outages.
Rainfall in the city is expected to begin Sunday night, with heavy rain and winds starting Monday night. Wind gusts could be between 50-60 miles per hour, causing significant tree damage and severe flooding. Officials said Sandy could be as powerful or worse than Hurricane Irene a year ago.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has declared a state of emergency. Local government officials are authorized to use all resources and personnel necessary to deal with the magnitude of the situation.
Residents are also reminded to call 911 only in a true emergency.