HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday signed a proclamation of disaster emergency in anticipation of significant rainfall and widespread flooding expected from the remnants of Tropical Depression Ida.
“This dangerous storm continues to have devastating impacts across the south and as it heads toward Pennsylvania, we are expecting significant rainfall across the state,” Wolf said.
“This proclamation will allow for our emergency preparedness teams to provide any support needed throughout the storm and its aftermath.
“I urge Pennsylvanians to monitor local weather and traffic conditions before making any plans and prepare for potential flooding.”
The heaviest rainfall is expected Wednesday into Wednesday night. Excessive rainfall associated with Ida combined with pre-saturated conditions will likely result in considerable flash, urban, and river flooding impacts Wednesday into Thursday in parts of south-central Pennsylvania.
Widespread rainfall totals of three to five inches are expected across south-central Pennsylvania with locally higher amounts up to seven inches possible.
Several streams and creeks are expected to reach minor to moderate flood levels in the Juniata and Lower Main Stem Susquehanna basins. A few points could crest above major flood stage on Thursday.
An isolated damaging wind gust or weak/brief tornado threat remains limited and confined to extreme southeast Pennsylvania.
As officials anticipate flooding and in response to increasing localized, short-duration, high-intensity rainstorms that cause devastating flash flooding, the governor recently sent a letter urging the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to lower the federal damage assessment thresholds required for these events to qualify for federal aid.
The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) has been tracking Ida since before it made landfall along the Gulf coast. The agency has held coordination calls with state agencies and county emergency management personnel to synchronize operations and provide a common operating picture among all agencies.
The Commonwealth Response Coordination Center (CRCC) will ramp up 24-hour operations at 8 a.m. Wednesday with in-person or virtual staffing from the following agencies: departments of Environmental Protection, General Services, Health, Military and Veterans Affairs, Human Services and Transportation; Office of the Attorney General; Pennsylvania State Police; Fish and Boat Commission; Public Utility Commission; Turnpike Commission; American Red Cross; and Civil Air Patrol.
Motorists should watch for ponding on roadways and flooding in poor drainage areas while traveling.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) warns motorists not to drive across roads covered with water because even shallow, swiftly flowing water can wash a car from a roadway.
Also, PennDOT stated that the roadbed may not be intact under the water. Never drive around barricades or signs on closed roads – Turn Around, Don’t Drown.
Anyone planning to travel should closely monitor weather conditions along travel routes. Motorists can check 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.
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 Web site.