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Governor declares State of Emergency for Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania was hit hard statewide by Wednesday’s ice storm. Schools and businesses were forced to close. The American Red Cross opened shelters in York, East Hempfield and Quarryville. Thousands – no, hundreds of thousands – were without power. Many remain powerless this early morning. Last night Governor Tom Corbett signed a disaster emergency proclamation.

"At the height of this storm, nearly 849,000 customers were without power in Pennsylvania," Governor Corbett said. "This will be a days-long recovery process, and we're utilizing this disaster declaration to speed up state assistance to all affected parts of the state."

PPL Electric Utilities are still reporting over 21,000 people without power in their coverage area. Lancaster County remains the hardest hit with over 18,000 without power at 4 a.m. The power outages have become more widespread throughout the County, affecting almost every municipality. Lancaster City has over 300 people without electric. Just shy of 2,000 Manheim Township households remain without power. Many of them were told not to expect power until Saturday!

"People should expect power to be out for several days simply because of the sheer volume of power outages and the amount of debris that must be cleared before power crews can access the problem areas," said Glenn Cannon, director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA).

The proclamation authorizes state agencies to use all available resources and personnel to assist local authorities, many of whom have been overwhelmed with damaged infrastructure, slowed travel and widespread power outages. Essentially, during the time of an active proclamation, the normal regulations concerning bid and contract procedures are waived.

The proclamation does not restrict vehicular travel on commonwealth roads, but motorists are encouraged to delay unnecessary travel and heed local road closures that may be in place. Specific roads may or may not have traffic limitations.

Motorists can check conditions on major roadways by visiting 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, average traffic speeds on urban interstates and access to more than 650 traffic cameras. 511PA is also available by calling 511, and regional Twitter alerts are available on the 511PA website.

Today the National Weather Service (NWS) is predicting a mostly sunny day. The anticipated high today is 26. Friday as well should be partly sunny. The Lancaster area may see more snow on Saturday or Sunday.

The video, while not locally created, offers tips to keep you safe if you need to use a generator. It also gives tips on what to bring to a Red Cross warming station.

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