Across York, eyes are on Hurricane Joaquin


Officials aren't planning for the worst just yet.

With Hurricane Joaquin's track still uncertain, many Yorkers are waiting to see how the storm tracks before making a move.

At Shank's Mare, located along the Susquehanna River in Lower Windsor Township, owners said they were keeping an eye on the storm before deciding to take any precautions. If the storm gets worse, they'll be strapping down their kayaks outside, co-owner Steve Winand said Thursday.

Elsewhere along the river, Phil Smith, emergency management coordinator for eastern York County, said he will meet with first responders and local officials in the six municipalities in his jurisdiction Friday morning to review damage assessment reports.

Just in case: Dan Tobin,spokesman for the York Chapter of the American Red Cross, said the organization is preparing to mobilize staff if necessary, but they are monitoring the projected forecast before making a decision.

The necessary entities will be able to deploy very rapidly when or if the time arises.

"We're already meeting and discussing and very much watching closely," he said. "We just have to wait another day or so until it comes in a little closer into (view)."

Tobin said the Red Cross is reaching out to shelter locations so staff can move quickly if necessary.

"I think no matter what path this storm takes, we're still going to get a lot of rain," he said.

He urged people to check the Red Cross emergency cellphone app for any updates and to be prepared.

York County spokesman Carl Lindquist said officials are encouraging people to take steps individually to prepare for the storm.

He said the emergency operations center has not been activated, but officials have advised staff they may need to respond if the hurricane were to hit here.

"In the event it took a westward turn and headed toward York county, yes we could gear up," he said.

Wrightsville Mayor Neil Habecker said they are still planning for the hurricane and will have better direction on Friday.

"At this point, it's on the radar screen we haven't quite gotten into it yet," he said.

He said the north end of Wrightsville will be more susceptible to flooding than other areas of borough.

Chief Jesse Frantz of Craley's Community Fire Co. said his entire crew will hunker down at the fire station during the storm.

Bad history : While the storm's path has not been confirmed, it wouldn't be the first time in recent years the area has experienced overwhelming rain.

Many areas of York County were hit hard during Tropical Storm Lee in September 2011.

President Barack Obama declared Pennsylvania a disaster and made available funds for York County individuals and business owners who suffered loss from flooding.

Two weeks after Tropical Storm Lee hit York County, three of the dozens of state roads that were closed remained impassable and were in need of longer-term repairs.

The York County Office of Emergency Management tabulated about $2.9 million in damage to roads, bridges, public buildings and sewer systems from Tropical Storm Lee.

An estimated 3,800 households across the county sustained damage from the tropical storm, according to FEMA.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at