Planes grounded, buses parked, Philly region braces for Sandy

Hurricane Sandy will bring thousands of people an unplanned day off Monday, but it will be a wet, windy and anxious one.

Philadephia Mayor Michael Nutter has urged everyone but essential workers to stay home Monday.  

SEPTA announced it was shutting down all service as of 12:01 a.m. Monday.


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Gov. Corbett said the whole state of Pennsylvania should expect to get soaked, but residents of the Philadelphia area will feel the sharpest smack from Sandy’s lash.  

He said most of the state will get at least 3 to 5 inches of rain but the Philadelphia area could get 6 to 10 inches of rain.

And, he added, a Halloween full moon has the Delaware River already at high levels, increasing the flood risk.

Nutter, who declared a state of emergency Saturday, had a simple message Sunday for everyone who is not absolutely needed at their jobs Monday: “Please stay home.”

SEPTA shuts down

And people who take mass transit to work would have had a mighty tough time getting to the office anyway.

SEPTA’s Richard Maloney says the transit agency plans to shut down all trains, buses, subways and trolleys shortly after midnight.

“It’s in the best interest of the safety of our customers and our employees and we want to protect our equipment as well so we can resume service hopefully sometime on Tuesday,” he said. “Prediction of the storm is quite unusual. We are expecting it last longer than most tropical storms or hurricanes. We really can’t make an educated decision until Tuesday when we see the storm finally getting out of the area.”

Corbett, saying he was anticipating power outages, flooding and water shortages, reported that he’s joined other governors in the Mid-Atlantic and New England in asking President Obama to declare the state a disaster areas.

“This declaration will provide federal funds so that the state and municipalities can take life-saving measures,” Corbett said.

Flights grounded

US Airways and Delta have already announced they will ground all their scheduled flights out of Philadelphia airport on Monday.  Altogether, nearly 7,000 flights nationally have been cancelled as airlines seek to avoid having their aircraft stuck on the ground at East Coast hubs.

The Philadelphia public and Catholic schools will be closed Monday, as will a host of suburban schools.  For a full list of closings, check out our partner, WCAU-NBC10.

The Delaware River Port Authority said its bridges remain open for now, but the authority will monitor wind speeds carefully to assess the safety of keeping the spans open.

High winds

The National Weather Service has issued a severe wind warning for the Philadelphia area and Lehigh Valley from 8 a.m. Monday through 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Here is the wording of the warning:

“Northward moving Sandy will become a powerful Nor’easter as it turns westward on Monday. This will slam into the New Jersey coast later Monday evening with a period of damaging winds. The prolonged period of high winds with this storm will add to the destructive power. Therefore, everyone needs to take this storm seriously and complete their preparations as conditions will worsen tonight and especially Monday.  … This is an extremely dangerous situation.

“The combination of the wind, increasingly rain softened ground, and many trees still with leaves, should result in widespread power outages Monday into Tuesday. Trees could be completely uprooted and many tree limbs will be broken. Power outages may be of long duration.”

The Red Cross is setting up emergency shelters for those displaced by flooding or power outages in Philadelphia and its Pennsylvania suburbs.  

Below are the Red Cross shelters that are opening Sunday night in Philadelphia, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties. Details of the Red Cross’ Bucks shelters are being worked out.


West Philadelphia High School, 4901 Chestnut StreetRoxborough High School, 6498 Ridge AvenueSamuel Fels High School, 5500 Langdon Street

Montgomery County:Pottstown High School, 750 North Washington St., Pottstown 19464 Cheltenham High School, 500 Rices Mill Road, Wyncote 19095. This shelter will have a veterinarian on the premises. Norristown High School, 1900 Eagle Dr., Norristown 19403

Chester County:Avon Grove High School, 257 E. State Road, West Grove 19390 Lionville Middle School, 550 W. Uwchlan, Avenue Exton 19341

Delaware County:Showalter Science and Discovery School, 1100 West 10th St., Chester 19013Ridley Middle School, 400 Free Street, Ridley, 19078

Oil refineries up and down the mid-Atlantic coast began to reduce or shut down production, fearing power outages that could damage equipment. Among them was the Philadephia Energy Solutions plant in Philadelphia, which was slowing production.

The Philadelphia Housing Authority is closed Monday; only essential personnel are reporting for work.

And you thought they didn’t have a heart … the Philadelphia Parking Authority has announced that parking at its metered and kiosk spaces will be free until Wednesday.

In Delaware, non-essential state workers have been told to stay home.  And the DART transit system won’t be running.

The Philadelphia Speaker Series talk by author Jeanette Walls slated for Monday evening at the Kimmel Center has been postponed to 8 p.m., Monday, Nov. 5.

A debate for Delaware’s U.S. Senate candidates scheduled for Tuesday at Widener University Law School has been postponed, and may not happen.  The law school has announced it will be closed Monday and Tuesday. WHYY was to have been a co-sponsor of the debate and to broadcast it on television on a delayed basis.

Another WHYY event, a Tuesday evening member event with State Impact Pennsylvania reporters Susan Phillips and Scott Detrow has been postpoined.




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