By Konstantine Fekos
Roadway puddles collected from hours of rainfall coupled with ominous forecasts may not be enough for Meadville residents to start boarding their windows as Hurricane Sandy climbs up the east coast.
Aside from expecting minor flooding and common inconveniences, some local residents and business managers in Meadville’s low-lying Fifth Ward remain dubious of the hurricane’s threatened effect on northwestern Pennsylvania.
“We don’t experience too much flooding,” said Bonnie Dillaman of Dillaman’s Auto Body on Lincoln Avenue. “The last time we had flooding, water came up to the door, but it didn’t get in.”
Although Dillaman observed rising water levels in French Creek, she adopted a response to weather predictions similar to that of lifelong Meadville resident Rob Stevens, owner of Lincoln Avenue Grocer.
“The fire department will let us know if there’s any major activity,” he said. “Nothing’s really concerning me at this time.”
Walking down the Fifth Ward’s damp, puddled streets, one sees little to no preparation for Hurricane Sandy. The storm’s potential regional effects, however, are the talk of the town.
Over at the Taco Bell at the foot of Smock Bridge, “Customers have asked if we have a generator, but there’s not a whole lot we can do,” said Tammy Weatherby, shift manager. She’s heard customers talk about stocking up on bread and other groceries. “You don’t know exactly how bad it will be,” she said. “We’ll wait for the fire department to let us know what we need to do.”
Businesses like Dillaman’s Auto have evacuation plans in place should weather conditions become adverse.
“We’re not making any preparations, but we have a parking lot we can move to if floods are imminent,” said Dillaman. “We just hope it doesn’t come to that.”