Hurricane Sandy is blowing through the East Coast, and its impacts will be felt throughout central Pennsylvania and State College.
Community members have heeded meteorologists’ advice to take quick precaution to the storm’s wrath.
Michael Page (senior-meteorology), of Campus Weather Service, described Hurricane Sandy as a Category 1 hurricane and one of the most unusual storms that has been seen in quite some time.
“Most storms that move up the Atlantic curve out to sea,” he said. “This storm, on the other hand, is moving up the eastern seaboard and is actually taking a left into the Northeast. We don’t really have other storms on record that have done something like this.”
A storm of exceptionally low pressure and gusty winds, Hurricane Sandy is expected to have the biggest impact around the New York City area, Page said. He said State College’s biggest risks are flooding and gusty winds.
State College Accuweather Senior Meteorologist Tom Kines said the storm is cause for concern because it covers such a large area, possibly causing damage not only across Pennsylvania, but also in areas of Washington, D.C., New York City and possibly Boston, Mass.
State College Accuweather Senior Meteorologist Michael Pigott said eastern Pennsylvania is going to feel the biggest impact with heavy winds and expected rainfall of more than eight inches. He said the wind gust could blow trees over, leading to widespread power outages.
Pigott added that heavy rain will continue throughout today into Tuesday in the State College region. At least 18 hours of heavy rain is expected, accompanied by extremely strong wind, he said.
Wind gusts will probably reach about 40 to 50 miles per hour in the region, he said.
Penn State’s Emergency Manager Brian Bittner said though university officials are closely following the storm, the University Park campus is open and does not have plans to cancel or delay classes as of press time Sunday.
According to a PSUTXT, the Penn State Mont Alto, Brandywine, Schuylkill, York, Abington, Wilkes Barre, Great Valley and Harrisburg campuses will be closed on Monday.
Penn State Lehigh Valley, Penn State Hazelton and Penn State Berks will be closed Monday and Tuesday, according to the PSUTXT.
Mark Whitfield, public works director for the Borough of State College, said the borough is taking the necessary precautions to accommodate the current weather conditions.
“Our main concern is getting leaves out of the gutter clogging up storm drains,” he said. “We’re trying to keep all storm drains open and [borough workers] will be working through the night starting [today].”
Residential refuse collection has been cancelled for the borough Tuesday due to forecasts of high winds, and will resume on Wednesday, according to a press release issued by the State College Borough.
Amid extensive news coverage surrounding the storm, local residents stocked up on water, bread and canned goods at Walmart and other area grocery stores, as the weather grew colder and cloudier on Sunday evening.
Walmart, located at 1665 N. Atherton St., had long lines and empty shelves, as area residents and students prepared for Hurricane Sandy’s arrival.
Port Matilda resident Phyllis Buchanan said she’s stocking up on foods like sandwiches and canned goods that don’t need to be cooked in case the power goes out.
“I wish my family had our generator, but we took it to our son in Delaware Saturday because he’s at a greater risk of flooding and power outages than we are,” Buchanan said.
Besides food and water, shoppers on Sunday had baskets full of batteries, flashlights and paper products, such as State College resident Georgette Beechan.
Beechan said she drove over to Giant, located at 225 Northland Center, because Walmart was so crowded and shopped for lunchmeat, cheese, crackers and soda for the next few days if she can’t cook because of power outages.
Residents weren’t the only ones preparing for the storm, however.
Store managers from Weis and Wegmans worried they wouldn’t have enough stock to refill shelves this week if the storm hits hard and shipment trucks can’t make it to local stores.
“We’ve been trying to move water from store to store because we’re running low,” said Stella Glover, store manager of Weis. “We’re out of batteries and flashlights and bread, water and milk have been flying off the shelves all weekend.”
The atmosphere in Weis was much calmer than Walmart and Wegmans, where residents packed the aisles and waited in long lines.
Tim Berends, service manager of Wegmans, said the store is running out of almost of everything and they weren’t sure if they will get enough stock in this week.