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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Mayor Michael Nutter says residents of flood-prone areas in Philadelphia should begin making preparations now in case evacuations are needed over the weekend because of Hurricane Irene.

Nutter says current estimates are that the city will receive seven inches of rainfall from Irene over the weekend, coupled with high winds.

So, he says, now is the time for residents living near the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers, and in other flood-prone areas, to start making plans in case evacuations are needed.

“I’m not saying that folks need to leave today, but they should at least have that conversation today into tonight and get ready for this weekend,” the mayor told reporters early this afternoon.  “It’s a little late when you’ve got eight inches of water in the basement to start making that first phone call about, ‘Can I hang out with you?’ ”

Nutter says the expected seven inches of rainfall would equal seven feet of snow in the winter, and people should treat this storm like a blizzard.

Reported by KYW City Hall bureau chief Mike Dunn