Weather forecasts are calling for rain and strong winds this weekend, and state officials are urging citizens to watch for possible flooding over the next several days.
“We are several days away from any impact from Hurricane Joaquin, but we’re expecting more rain this weekend so if you live in a flood prone area, get ready,” said Richard D. Flinn, Jr., director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. “It is important for people to be prepared and what they do now can make a big difference if there is flooding later.”
Flinn said it is important for the public to understand the difference between a flood watch and a flood warning because each represents a different level of action to be taken--
— A flood watch means that flooding may occur. Residents should stay alert and watch rivers and streams, and be prepared to move to high ground quickly.
— A flood warning means that there is actual flooding. Residents should act at once and move to high ground
“People tend to underestimate the force of water,” Flinn said. “Six inches of fast-moving water can knock over a person and 12 inches of rushing water can carry away a small car. It is never safe to drive through or walk into flood waters.”
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.
Flinn said parts of the state could also see strong gusty winds over the weekend, and residents should consider securing or storing outdoor furniture, decorations or other items that could damage buildings or cars and injure others.
Families should take the time to create an emergency plan and build an emergency kit for their homes and cars using resources available online at www.ReadyPA.org. The website includes free downloadable family plan templates and emergency kit checklists.Information is also available by downloading the free ReadyPA app for Apple or Android devices.