Whatever , the City of Easton is as ready as it can be.
Mayor Sal Panto, speaking after a meeting this afternoon with emergency management officials said the city will not declare a state of emergency for the storm because Governor Tom Corbett has already declared it for Pennsylvania.
“He preempted me,” Panto said. “The main things right now are water and wind, the two Ws.”
The city has already sent reverse 911 calls to all residents in low-lying areas of the city warning them of the very real flooding risk, he said.
“They should be out of their homes by tonight,” Panto noted, adding that city equipment has been moved out of the public works facility at 500 Bushkill St., which has a tendency to flood in heavy rains and lies next to the Bushkill Creek.
The mayor said he doesn't expect Irene to directly cause major damage in the city, but depending on the tropical storm's severity, loss of electricity could be a issue if lines are downed in outlying areas, and flooding is likely in prone areas.
“People should be prepared,” he said, noting that if power went out at night it would be more difficult.
Having flashlights on hand and other emergency supplies on hand is a good idea, he added, but said emergency grocery store trips were probably unnecessary.
“People have a tendency to overreact,” Panto said. “This will only be for 12 to 24 hours.”
The more serious consequence of the storm may be river flooding early this week.
The Lehigh River was high this afternoon, and the strength of its flow could be seen well in to the Delaware at the forks of the river.
While an estimate of a potential flood crest has not been determined, National Weather Service is predicting moderate Delaware River flooding, with a level of about 27 feet by noon on Monday.
Panto said the city will be continually monitoring the situation, and both city officials and emergency service workers will be on call and present throughout the weekend. Another storm management meeting of city officials is planned for Sunday morning, he said.
“By 9 a.m. tomorrow, we should fully know what this event is” Panto said.