By JessicaBautista

jbautista@chesterspirit.com

A

s much of the East Coast prepares to be slammed by Hurricane Irene over the weekend, Chester authorities and residents drafted their own precautions and procedures Friday afternoon, including postponing several of this weekend’s planned events.

Four days after an unlikely 5.9 earthquake in Virginia that sent shudders up the East Coast, reaching Chester within seconds, Chester will be met with Irene, a massive storm that prompted President Barack Obama to say, “(…) all indications point to this being an historic hurricane.” Obama, and weather experts urge citizens to take it seriously, which is what city officials and event planners have chosen to do.

Brian Warren, deputy director of Chester’s recreation, announced Friday afternoon that all activities planned by the Recreation Department would be cancelled for the weekend, starting Saturday morning, due to the weather.

The threat of the hurricane has also forced the Philadelphia Union to postpone their match against the New England Revolution to Sept. 7th.

The much-anticipated Unity in the Community March, presented by the Concerned Citizens of Chester, also had to push its date back to Sept. 17th, though organizers were still debating a course of action Friday morning. “People are afraid; they’re thinking about their family,” said Nicole Cogdell, community activist and collaborator for the march. “I just think it’s (cancellation) the right thing to do.”

The Category Two hurricane’s maximum sustained wind was reported at 100 mph as of 2 P.M. Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center. Irene is expected to weaken to a Category One event by the time it reaches the Delaware County area, which could have winds anywhere from 74 to 95 mph.

“Hurricane Irene looks to become the first major hurricane to strike the East Coast in seven years and computer models show that it could pose a threat to the region,” Delaware County Council Chairman Jack Whelan said on the county’s hurricane preparedness web page. “The most important thing people can do is stay informed and be prepared.”

According to the site, Delaware County Emergency Services Director Ed Truitt said emergency management staff will operate the Emergency Services Center throughout the weekend and the hurricane’s duration. Truitt also planned to increase 911 staff to accommodate any number of emergency calls.

“I was just in touch with the National Weather Service and was told the eye of the hurricane will only be 20 miles off the coast when it hits this region, so that means we will have an inundation of rain and high winds,” Truitt said. “There could be flooding. We are in constant touch with PennDOT regarding our roads and bridges,” Truitt said. “Because the ground is already so saturated and high winds are expected, there could be downed trees and power outages.”

Visit http://www.co.delaware.pa.us/emgready.html for preparedness and safety tips.

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By order of the emergency management coordinator and under authority granted by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, All persons are ORDERED to evacuate the premises until the current emergency has abated. All persons are directed to leave by NOON SATURDAY, AUGUST 27, 2011.

The following areas are being evacuation because of expected flooding:

Parker Manor
600 Block of Parker Street
1300 Block of Parker Street
1300-1400 blocks of Kerlin Street

Shelter may be sought at the Showalter Middle School located at 10th & Lloyd Streets. If you should require assistance in getting to the shelter, please call: 610-447-7842.

Fire and police personnel will be on site to assist with the evacuations starting tomorrow morning, August 27, 2011. Bus transportation to the shelter will be provided in these areas starting at 10:00 am tomorrow. Electrical power in these locations will be shut off following the evacuation at 12 Noon.

Residents of Holy City should be advised of a potential flooding hazard from Holy City to Barclay Street.

 

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