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LebTown and Lebanon County Weather will be providing updates throughout the day as critical news occurs concerning Tropical Depression Ida and its impact on Lebanon County.
Rainfall is expected to reach up to half a foot, but could exceed that amount in certain locations. As Lebanon County Weather noted, Tropical Storm Lee in 2011 may offer the most recent precedent for this event, but with a similar amount of rain over a longer period.
Water levels on the Swatara Creek are expected to rise through 5 a.m. Thursday, according to projections from NOAA based on historical and current water level readings. The flood stage of the Swatara is 9″; projections show a peak from Ida of 14.4″ at 5 a.m. Thursday, but again, those are projections and actual levels could be higher or lower depending on events and local geography/rainfall totals.
On Tuesday, Gov. Tom Wolf signed a proclamation of disaster emergency activating the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency to respond to the event, as well as any Pennsylvania National Guard troops requested by PEMA to alleviate danger to public health and safety. According to a Pennsylvania National Guard spokesperson, about 120 guard members have been placed on state active duty, with two helicopters and crews on stand-by as part of the Pennsylvania Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team, a joint partnership between the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, along with credentialed civilian rescue technicians.
“As Tropical Storm Ida approaches, the Soldiers and Airmen of the Pennsylvania National Guard stand ready to assist the citizens of Pennsylvania and our partner agencies,” said Pennsylvania Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Mark Schindler in a statement. ”As National Guard members, we serve in our communities and are no strangers to responding to extreme weather events. With heavy rains expected, I urge everyone to practice extreme caution. The Pennsylvania National Guard will be there to help and live up to our motto ‘Always ready. Always There.’”
Ida is expected to bring flooding to the area, so be prepared. Public safety experts and other local officials offer one simple piece of advice if you come to a roadway that looks even partially submerged – Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Here are some additional tips from Ready.gov on how to stay safe during a flood.
- Evacuate immediately, if told to evacuate. Never drive around barricades. Local responders use them to safely direct traffic out of flooded areas.
- Contact your healthcare provider If you are sick and need medical attention. Wait for further care instructions and shelter in place, if possible. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.
- Listen to EAS, NOAA Weather Radio or local alerting systems for current emergency information and instructions regarding flooding.
- Do not walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Turn Around. Don’t Drown!
- Stay off bridges over fast-moving water. Fast-moving water can wash bridges away without warning.
- Stay inside in your if it is trapped in rapidly moving water. Get on the roof if water is rising inside the car.
- Get to the highest level if trapped in a building. Only get on the roof if necessary and once there signal for help. Do not climb into a closed attic to avoid getting trapped by rising floodwater.
PennDOT makes some road condition information available through its website, 511PA. Although not comprehensive, the maps and video feeds there might help you decide whether it’s even worth venturing out.