HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett tonight said that the state is now in the rescue phase of the flooding disaster, and urged residents to stay away from the water.
"If you were evacuated it was because you were in danger. Please follow the instructions of local officials," cautioned Corbett. "When you go back to the evacuation zone you put your lives in danger and you put the lives of rescue crews in danger."
According to the Department of Health, there have been seven Pennsylvania fatalities due to the flood.
"This water is swift and it is carrying huge debris that can knock down bridges and piers. It carries overflow sewage from plants upstream that were overwhelmed," said Corbett.
Earlier in the day the Governor assessed the flood damage in the Northeast along with the Pennsylvania State Police. Throughout the Susquehanna Valley almost every town has suffered some damage.
"We know that the river will continue to test the Wilkes-Barre levee and the one across the water in the town of Forty Fort," said Corbett. "For the people downstream this flood is still going on. The water testing Wilkes-Barre right now will test Harrisburg soon."
During the day the Susquehanna River level in Wilkes-Barre has come down two feet and the secondary crest for the city of Harrisburg has been lowered to 23.8 feet. However, many evacuation orders across the northeast and central region of the commonwealth remain in effect.
Hundreds of roads across the state have been closed because of flooding, mudslides and rockslides, as well as stranding motorists and residents. Specific information about major state road closures is available by calling 511 or by www.511pa.com.
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
Kelli Roberts, Governor's Office; 717-783-1116
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor