The arrival of Superstorm Sandy is putting the State College Borough on high alert to deal with any aftermath of the storm.
Public Works Operations Manager Eric Brooks said they have been in preparation mode since Saturday, collecting leaves from streets and low-lying areas, as well as preparing chippers for any downed trees.
The borough will be focusing on keeping roads clear of debris and branches and will resume regular collection of leaves as weather permits, he said.
"I anticipate, based on the weather forecast, [our crews] will stay on 24/7 mode until Wednesday evening," Brooks said.
Refuse collection has been rescheduled from Tuesday to Wednesday for fear of the trash being blown away by high winds, he said.
In Centre County, there have been 200 power outages due to the storm and five in the State College area as of press time Monday, Mark Nitowski, Allegheny Energy external communications manager said.
More outages are anticipated, but the representative said numbers cannot be given out yet because the storm hasn’t passed through.
The power outages are expected to last seven to 10 days and, at this point, West Penn Power has crews ready, even though the storm hasn’t fully hit yet, he said. They are prepared and have crews from neighboring states like Ohio, New Jersey and West Virginia that will be helping with restoration efforts.
Borough Manager Tom Fountaine said the gates of parking garages were opened this morning for people to park their cars away from the curb during the hurricane.
Parking Manager Charles DeBow said the borough isn't scheduled to allow overnight parking on streets until at least Wednesday morning in order for public works crews to clean up after the storm.
Additionally, the Red Cross has opened a shelter at Bald Eagle Area High School, 751 S. Eagle Valley Road, in Wingate, Red Cross Communications Manager Kathy Smyser said.
The shelters will provide food and a dry place to sleep, as well as people in the same situation who can talk about what it feels like to be displaced, Smyser said. She said the shelter will stay open as long as the County’s Emergency Management Group determine that they need it.
Smyser said the Red Cross has a Safe and Well website and application on which people can enter their name, cell phone, address and send updates to friends and family who have their information to notify them that they are safe.
Fountaine said the Centre Region Emergency Management will decide whether any more shelters are opened based on power outages and other problems.
Centre County Commissioner Steve Dershem said the office declared a state of emergency and has mobilized an Emergency Operation Center. Right now, the Centre County Board of Commissioners office is waiting to see which municipalities need emergency services, he said.
They are also developing action plans as the storm develops based on what areas might experience flooding, he said.
State College is not at as much risk as surrounding areas, but the commissioners’ office has people watching the weather and will be ready to transport items such as fuel and lights to areas that need them, Dershem said. They are ready to mobilize mass sheltering and utilities whenever municipalities become overwhelmed and the responsibility goes to the county, he said.
According to a press release issued by the State College Borough, the State College Borough Municipal Building, located at 243 S. Allen St., will be closed Tuesday.
Collegian staff writer Adam Lidgett contributed to this report.