HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett tonight urged residents in central and eastern Pennsylvania to remain vigilant in light of continued rain, quickly rising rivers and streams, as well as dangerous flash flooding resulting from the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee.
"This is not a time to panic; this is a time to prepare,'' Corbett said during a media briefing at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Harrisburg. "Also, if you must drive, slow down, and never try to drive through standing water on roadways or around barricades.''
The governor noted that the emergency proclamation he issued on Aug. 26 in anticipation of Hurricane Irene is still in effect. It's important to note that the governor's proclamation does not automatically institute a ban on travel, but motorists should be aware that municipal and county officials can do so where necessary.
The governor spoke with the media after receiving a briefing from emergency workers who have been continuously monitoring the situation at PEMA headquarters.
Hundreds of roads across the central portion of the state were closed Wednesday because of flooding and emergency personnel had to rescue stranded motorists and residents.
More than 500 members of the Pennsylvania National Guard have been alerted to help in the rescue efforts, along with a number of Swiftwater rescue vehicles.
"People need to know that this threat is real, and they need to follow the guidance of their local emergency officials," said PEMA Director Glenn Cannon. "If you're told to leave, grab your emergency kit and leave. Flood water can rise, even when the sun is shining."
If residents are told to leave their homes, they are free to travel to the destination of their choice, but should follow the directions of local law enforcement to ensure the safe and steady flow of traffic.
Anyone who needs to go to a shelter can find out where to go by contacting their municipal emergency management office. To find contact information for your township, borough or city, look in the government section (Blue Pages) of your local telephone directory or search online.
Hundreds of roads are closed throughout the area because of flooding, according to state police. Specific information about major state road closures is available by calling 511 or by www.511pa.com.
In addition to driving cautiously, motorists should also expect delays and allow extra time in their travel schedules.
When it's raining or when roads are wet, motorists should also turn on their headlights and increase the following distance between vehicles. Pennsylvania law dictates that headlights must be turned on any time a vehicle's wipers are on.
Residents are encouraged to visit www.ReadyPA.org - a state resource that encourages citizens to take three basic steps before an emergency or natural disaster:
- Be Informed: know what threats Pennsylvania and your community face.
- Be Prepared: have an emergency kit with at least three days' worth of essentials at your home, including food, one gallon of water per person per day, medications and specialized items such as baby or pet supplies. Create an emergency plan so family members know where to meet if everyone is separated when an incident occurs.
- Be Involved: Pennsylvanians have a long history of helping one another in times of need. Specialized training and volunteer opportunities are available so citizens can help others in their community in a disaster.
Information such as checklists for emergency kits and templates for emergency plans, as well as other information and volunteer opportunities, is available at www.ReadyPA.org or by calling 1-888-9-READYPA (1-888-973-2397).
Cory Angell or Ruth A. Miller, PEMA; 717-651-2009
Janet Kelley, Governor's Office; 717-783-1116
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor