By Brad Segall

LOWER MORELAND, Pa. (CBS) — Montgomery County, Pa. has declared a disaster in the wake of this morning’s severe ice storm.

READ MORE: OSHA Urges Businesses To Shore Up COVID-19 Safety Protocols During Expected Record-Breaking Holiday Shopping Season

County commissioner Josh Shapiro says the declaration allows the county to coordinate with the state emergency management agency and bypass the bid process to secure goods to help them deal with the aftermath of the storm.

It could also mean federal dollars if the county meets the damage threshold.

But Shapiro is concerned for residents who have no power and are facing a cold night ahead.

READ MORE: Chester County Day Care, Preschool Director Arrested For Failing To Report Child Abuse, Prosecutors Say

“Primarily, we want people to be sheltering in warm places,” he said this afternoon, “and if they are sheltering in their homes, obviously to do so cognizant of the temperature.”

He says a “Code Red” was called at their emergency operations center, which means all hands on deck answering calls from county residents experiencing emergencies.

As of Wednesday afternoon, according to Shapiro, 187,000 Peco customers in the county were without power — two thirds of all Peco customers in the county (see related story).

MORE NEWS: Remembering Pearl Harbor: Camden County Holds 80th Anniversary Ceremony On Battleship New Jersey