Governor Wolf Urges Pennsylvanians to Monitor Forecasts, Be Alert for Flooding Due to Heavy Rain

October 28, 2017

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf and state officials from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) are urging citizens to monitor weather conditions as a strong storm system moves across the state, bringing heavy rain, potential flash flooding and strong winds through Monday.

“PEMA is always on alert to advise Pennsylvanians in advance of severe weather so that precautions can be taken to be safe and protected,” Governor Wolf said. “Given the unpredictability of heavy rain fall, potentially impacted Pennsylvanians should stay informed of developments as the storm falls.”

“There are several ways to receive alerts from the National Weather Service, whether it’s with a NOAA weather radio or subscribing to a notification system,” said PEMA Director Richard D. Flinn Jr.

According to the National Weather Service, the heaviest rain is expected to fall in northcentral and northeastern Pennsylvania, particularly Sunday evening into Monday. However, the potential for heavy bands of rain dropping as much as five inches of rain is possible across a much larger area. A secondary threat of strong winds on Monday could bring downed trees and power lines, since the ground will be so wet due to the rain.

Flinn said it is important for the public to understand the difference between a watch and a warning because each represents a different level of action to be taken.

  • A flood or flash flood watch means that conditions are favorable for flooding to occur. Residents should stay alert and watch for rapidly rising waters, including rivers and streams, and be prepared to move to high ground quickly.
  • A flood or flash flood warning means that there is actual flooding, or flooding is imminent. Residents should act at once and move to high ground.

Always follow the guidance of local emergency personnel or law enforcement if you are told to evacuate. Flinn said you should be familiar with multiple ways to evacuate places where you spend a lot of time, such as your home and work location.

Flinn said motorists should stay alert when traveling during periods of heavy rain. Flood waters can rise quickly. NEVER drive through a flooded roadway – more than half of all flooding deaths occur in cars. While water on a flooded roadway might not look deep, the roadway could actually be washed away under the water, or the road could be compromised in a way that could make it unsafe to travel.

To help ensure safety for motorists and emergency responders alike, state law mandates that motorists who drive around or through signs or traffic control devices closing a road or highway due to hazardous conditions will have two points added to their driving records and be fined up to $250. Penalties are higher if emergency responders are called to rescue motorists who disregard warning signs.

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