Philadelphia May Nutter said Thursday that Hurricane Irene could become the worst storm to hit the East in fifty years.

Governors in North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, and Delaware have all declared states of emergency. 

Philadelphia rainfall is expected to exceed seven inches, which would send all streams, creeks, and the Schuylkill into flood stage, Nutter said. Flash flooding in the street can also be expected. Tidal flooding along the Delaware River also is possible, he added.

Gov. Jack A. Markell declared a state emergency at 6 p.m. last night.  Nonresidents were told to evacuate coastal areas.

Philadelphia may see sustained winds of 40 to 50 mph, with 60 mph wind gusts.  This velocity could cause significant damage or downage to trees, power outages, and other infrastructure disruptions, Nutter said.  This storm is coming.  The only question is its severity. If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, prepare to evacuate as needed, he added.

Remediation programs have displaced or elevated vulnerable houses in recent years so flooding along Neshaminy Creek would have to exceed 14 feet for there to be considerable damage, Bucks County emergency services director John Dougherty said in an effort to calm residents.

The Delaware River, however, may become threatening to Yardley, Morrisville, Lower Makefield, and Bensalem, followed by New Hope, Riegelsville, and subsequent communities along River Road. 

The storm will hit the state Sunday and will arrive earlier than expected.