HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Wolf was joined by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania State Police to provide an update on state agency response to remnants of Ida, which is currently impacting the commonwealth with heavy rain and significant flooding.
“This is an extremely dangerous storm that is impacting the entire state. As we continue to monitor the conditions, I ask everyone to please stay home if you’re able,” Wolf said.
“If you must travel, please monitor the latest road conditions and weather updates. Please, I urge everyone to take this storm seriously and stay safe.”
“We have dispatched water rescue teams from parts of the state that will see less flooding and moved them to areas where we expect more significant impacts from the rain and flooding,” said PEMA Director Randy Padfield.
“We now need people to stay off the roads unless travel is necessary. If you must travel, do so safely and be aware that conditions can change quickly.”
The Commonwealth Response Coordination Center (CRCC) began 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.
“Our crews have been preparing for days by clearing out debris around drainage inlets and under bridges while readying equipment,” Acting PennDOT Executive Deputy Secretary Melissa Batula said.
“With the forecast amount of rain, we remind the public to not drive on roads that are covered with water because even shallow, swiftly flowing water can wash a car from a roadway.”
Motorists should watch for ponding on roadways and flooding in poor drainage areas while traveling.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation 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 reminds 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.
“With heavy rainfall expected to have significant impacts throughout the commonwealth, drivers are urged to buckle up, slow down and drive at a speed appropriate for the current conditions,” said Major Robert Krol, director of the Bureau of Patrol with the Pennsylvania State Police.
“Ensure your headlights are on when your windshield wipers are on. Do not walk or drive through standing or moving water. Turn around, don’t drown.”
Wolf signed a proclamation of disaster emergency, which allows state agencies to more easily pre-position resources and respond more quickly to requests for state assistance.
Approximately 120 Pennsylvania National Guard members are on state active duty to support local emergency and rescue operations. Some members are part of the Pennsylvania Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team (PA-HART), a joint partnership between the PA Army National Guard, the PA Fish and Boat Commission, PEMA and credentialed civilian rescue technicians.
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) announced that several state park and forest campsites will be closed Wednesday and Thursday as the remnants of Tropical Depression Ida approach Pennsylvania.
Additional campsite closures may be required depending on rainfall and the trajectory the storm takes as it passes through the commonwealth.
Those traveling from parks and in the risk area should check for alerts and advisories before heading out to a local or state park or forest to make sure facilities are open and conditions are safe to go boating or be near rivers and streams.
More information about how to prepare for any type of emergency, including specific information for people with access and functional needs or pets, is available on the Ready PA webpage.