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Easton Prepares For Hurricane Sandy

Mayor concerned about what storm will do to Easton's already rain-soaked ground.

Last year, Bob Mateff, the director of Northampton County's Emergency Services, had to contend with a hurricane, a blizzard, and a flood.

"This one appears to be all three rolled into one," he said, referring to Hurricane Sandy, which could very well bring heavy winds, flooding and even some snow into the region next week.

The trouble, he said, is that no one knows what the storm will be like at this point, making it hard to predict trouble spots for next week.

"We could be looking at flash-flooding. We could be looking at small stream flooding. We could be looking at river flooding," Mateff said.

He said the county is advising all its municipalities to be prepared for the storm, by taking steps such making sure generators are charged, and cleaning out storm drains to prevent flooding.

That's what was happening in Easton Friday, Mayor Sal Panto said. He said the city's public works and public safety employees would be mobilized this weekend. 

City officials were expecting the storm to begin Sunday, and then escalate Monday and Tuesday. Panto said

"We'll be keeping an eye on the Bushkill, anyone along the Bushkill," he said.

Also along the Bushkill: Easton's public works garage. If flooding seems likely, the city will need to move all of its equipment.

Panto said the trouble is that Easton's will have already been soaked by wet weather before the storm even arrives.

"Any rain we get will be runoff," he said.

Panto cautioned residents to monitor weather forecasts, and to make sure they have food, water, batteries and other items in case power goes out.

The city listed other flood-related precautions on its website. We've also included the list here as a PDF. 

Mateff said his staff is working with utilities PPL and First Energy, as well as LANTA, to make preparations. The county will increase its staff at the 911 center during the storm, and set up an emergency operations center on Monday.

Sandy will be the second major October storm to hit Easton in as many years. Last year, a Halloween blizzard wiped out in the city, and left some residents without power for more than a week.

Want to stay on top of what's happening when Sandy arrives?

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