Wolf Administration Warns of Severe Weather and Flooding Threat

December 24, 2020

The Wolf Administration is warning citizens to stay alert for heavy rain, strong wind, accumulating snow, and rapid temperature drop that will lead to flash freezes, along with dangerous flash flooding across much of the state today and into the early morning tomorrow. Significant rainfall when combined with snow melt is expected to bring major river flooding, particularly in the upper Susquehanna River basin through the weekend.

“My priority is the safety of all Pennsylvanians,” Governor Tom Wolf said. “Please stay alert and pay close attention to local weather forecasts so you can be prepared. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) is coordinating with all counties to be sure there are no unmet needs, especially throughout this holiday weekend. Please stay home and stay safe. And thank you to our first responders and emergency personnel who are working tirelessly through the holiday to keep everyone safe.”

“This is a dangerous storm that will bring a wide variety of hazards to most of Pennsylvania through the weekend,” said PEMA Director Randy Padfield. “It is imperative that you pay attention to conditions in your area and do not travel unless it is critical for you to do so. If you must travel, you need to have emergency supplies in your car in the event roadways become impassable.”

According to the National Weather Service, a complex storm system will bring heavy rain, strong winds, snow, and flash freezing along with flash flooding and river flooding. Poor drainage due to blocked storm drains could cause roadway flooding, which could freeze quickly and cause treacherous driving conditions. Power outages remain a threat due to saturated ground and gusty winds. Rivers, primarily in the Susquehanna River basin, may rise to levels not seen in nearly a decade. Residents are urged to monitor the transition between multiple weather threats.

The PA Department of Transportation has announced vehicle restrictions that will take effect later today. The most up-to-date information about those restrictions is available from 511PA.

To help make decisions regarding winter travel, motorists are encouraged to “Know Before You Go” by checking conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles, by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 1,000 traffic cameras. Users can also see plow truck statuses and travel alerts along a specific route using the “Check My Route” tool.

511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

Drivers should prepare or restock their emergency kits with items such as non-perishable food, water, first-aid supplies, warm clothes, a blanket, cell phone charger and a small snow shovel. Motorists should tailor their kits to any specific needs that they or their families have such as baby supplies, extra medication and pet supplies.

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