PEMA, other agencies, provide update on state response to Ida

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EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — The Wolf administration has given an update on the state’s response to the heavy rainfall. They are also reminding drivers and Pennsylvanians to stay away from flooded water.

Wednesday morning Governor Tom Wolf signed a proclamation of disaster emergency which activates emergency crews as well as the National Guard.

The state is anticipating widespread flooding. As Eyewitness News mentioned, there is a flash flood warning for Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties.

Turn around don’t drown. That’s the reminder from the Wolf administration Wednesday as the remnants of Ida soak the state.

“Please don’t drive walk or navigate in any floodwaters. Most of the flood deaths in Pennsylvania between 2006 and 2018 occurred outside in vehicles,” State Meteorologist for PEMA Jeff Jumper said.

Pennsylvanians are urged to stay away from fast-moving water in flooded areas and avoid wading in floodwaters.

“A mere six inches of fast-moving water can knock over an adult. A foot of moving water can carry away a vehicle and two feet will take most SUVs and trucks,” stated Major Robert Krol, Director of the Bureau of Patrol with the Pennsylvania State Police.

If you see a road-closed sign find an alternate route.

“People who drive past or around or through a barricade or a traffic control device face up to a $500 fine,” explained Mayor Krol.

Governor Tom Wolf signed a proclamation of disaster emergency as flood warnings continue Wednesday. This allows state emergency crews and the National Guard to respond across the commonwealth.

“The next 12-18 hours will be the most crucial time or critical time where we will see the maximum impacts from this storm,” said Randy Padfield, PEMA Director.

The main concerns are near creeks and low-lying areas.

“We’ll expect significant flash flooding through this evening of areas south of Interstate 80 and areas east of the United States 15 corridors,” explained Jumper.

As the storm moves past, the entire state will need to remain alert.

“We’ll have a couple of nice days but still have to watch the rivers the mainstem rivers those will continue to rise as we head into the next couple of days before cresting,” stated Jumper.

Drivers can check road conditions at any time on 511 PA. You can stay current on all the latest weather alerts and track the storm using the Eyewitness Interactive Radar.

Late Wednesday morning the state held a briefing reminding everyone to do their part and be safe which can be seen in full in the video player below.

Approximately 120 Pennsylvania National Guard members are on state active duty to support local emergency and rescue operations. 

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