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Executive: Allegheny County 'Dodged a Bullet' with Hurricane Sandy

With only about 2,300 residents without power as of Tuesday morning and few emergencies reported, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said it seems as though the Pittsburgh area weathered Hurricane Sandy fairly well.

"It appears now that it's hit the middle of the state toward Harrisburg, that it's now heading north," said Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald said he expects a total of four inches of rain over Monday and Tuesday, which he said would probably not cause large-scale flooding.

The County Executive credited federal and state government for checking in on the county throughout the storm.

County Chief of Emergency Services Alvin Henderson said the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Administration (PEMA) asked Allegheny County to send help to communities in the Harrisburg area.

"We received a direct request from Director [Glenn] Cannon for swiftwater resources to be able to be activated from Allegheny County," said Henderson. "We were able to deploy twelve technicians."

The aftermath of this storm is a welcome contrast to the heavy damage caused by Hurricane Ivan in September 2004, according to Fitzgerald.

"When Ivan hit, maybe people weren't as prepared, didn't know it was coming, and then all of a sudden it was here," said the County Executive. "We had some significant, significant damage. Some communities are still, this many years later, still kind of digging out from what happened with Ivan."

Fitzgerald said the county's Emergency Operations Center would close at 4:00 Tuesday afternoon, since Hurricane Sandy does not seem to have caused as much havok as originally believed.  County offices were open for business as usual including the Elections Division, which is dealing with the deadline to register for an absentee ballot.

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