Nearly 700 Pennsylvania National Guard troops are on standby in case they're needed to help in cleaning up the snowy, slushy, icy mess left by a storm that passed through much of the region.

 

"We have three regions for the National Guard, so they were spread out over those regions. They have not been employed yet, but you can't bring them up after the fact, after the storm is there, it's hard to get them to their armories, so we brought them up last night," Gov. Tom Corbett said Wednesday at a news conference on storm operations.

The most urgent task falls to Pennsylvania power companies trying to restore service to hundreds of thousands of customers, most of them in the southeastern corner of the state.

During a storm like this, a number of state agencies go into crisis mode, monitoring power outages and roadways, said Corbett. He said other agencies also are helping out, including the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

"DCNR and the Game Commission are providing chainsaw crews in Southeastern Pennsylvania to help remove timber that's down on lines or down on roads so we can get there," Corbett said.

It's hard to tell when power will be restored, especially in the hardest Chester and Montgomery counties, according to the director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

Crews are still having trouble reaching downed power lines due to poor road conditions and fallen trees.