HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Governor Corbett has issued a statewide disaster declaration for all of Pennsylvania as Hurricane Irene approaches.

“We are urging all Pennsylvanians to take action now to be prepared,’’ Corbett said. “We will continue to monitor this changing situation statewide and plan for all possible emergencies. Should the need arise, we will be able to help as quickly and efficiently as possible.’’

Gov. Corbett said the disaster declaration will enable state and local governments to respond more quickly and efficiently to any problems the storm may cause. He warns that the declaration activates provisions of state law prohibiting price gouging for essential items.

State emergency officials are in communication with multiple state agencies, including the state departments of Transportation, Health, Public Welfare, General Services, State Police, Pennsylvania National Guard, Turnpike Commission, Public Utility Commission and the American Red Cross, to make sure supplies and personnel are ready if needed.

“We are moving National Guard troops – we have about 1,500 National Guard troops that are going to be pre-positioned. Hopefully, we won’t have to use them. But they’re going to be in the area, they’re going to be there.”

Also, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency at 8 a.m. Saturday will raise the state emergency operations center status from level three to level two, bringing representatives from key state agencies together in the center to manage the response. Governor Corbett, meanwhile, urges all Pennsylvanians to keep up to date on the storm.

Reported by KYW Harrisburg bureau chief Tony Romeo