PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia and its surrounding Pennsylvania counties are hoping for the best this weekend but preparing for the worst.

The concern in the suburban counties is creeks and streams that can rise very quickly and create flash flooding.  That has county emergency management officials watching the forecast very closely, given that as much as ten inches of rain may fall from this storm.

SEPTA  said it will be suspending service on all bus, trolley, subway and train lines in the five-county area as of 12:30AM Sunday morning.  Certain Regional Rail lines were being shut down as early as 5PM Saturday afternoon (see related story).  The transit agency said service was not expected to resume until at least midday Sunday, following damage assessments and repairs.

Bucks County spokesman Chris Edwards says the suburban counties are preparing a coordinated effort.

“We’re collaborating with all of the local emergency management officials, certainly getting messages out to all of the first responders to be ready,” he told KYW Newsradio this morning.  “Also, there’s some conversation as to drawing in assets from other areas that won’t be affected by the storms.”

They are also worried about power outages.

As of Friday morning there has been no talk about evacuations, but they will continue to monitor the situation.  Bucks County will open its emergency operations center at 8:00PM Saturday night.

Scott Mickalonis, Montgomery County deputy director for emergency management, says they will also have extra staffers on hand at the emergency management center starting Saturday. He also advised residents in low-lying areas to use caution.

“People who live along the area know the river pretty well, and certainly can make their own decisions as to whether or not they need to evacuate before the event,” Mickalonis said.

He also advised residents to sign up for text and e-mail alerts through the ReadyPA system to keep them updated on the latest conditions.

Meanwhile, because of the approach of Hurricane Irene, Amtrak suspended all train service south of Washington, DC.  The City of New York was shutting down its public transit system at the height of the storm.

PECO was anticipating many power problems around the Delaware Valley.  They’ve  brought in extra repair crews and they are asking people who experience outages to report them as soon as possible (see related story).

Reported by Brad Segall and Al Novack, KYW Newsradio 1060 Guide To Hurricane Irene

Watch & Listen LIVE