Dauphin County prepares for round two of severe weather

SUSQUEHANNA TOWNSHIP, DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. -- The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency or PEMA, along with many in local and state government are focused on the weather this Friday and Saturday.

Parts of Dauphin County were hit hard by the previous weekend's storm, so many are working to get the word out to be prepared to take precautions if necessary this weekend.

Many homeowners, as well as local, county, and state officials hope to not see a repeat of severe weather in central Pennsylvania.

PEMA deputy director of response Randy Padfield said "earlier this week we had impacts in Middletown. We had impacts throughout Dauphin County in some areas, we had impacts from flash flooding in Bradford and Susquehanna county. The key is a lot of the flash flooding is very difficult to predict."

It's why many state and county officials are asking people in central Pennsylvania to be alert and aware of the weather.

Dauphin County commissioner George Hartwick, III said "because of the projection of rain over the next 24-48 hours, we're asking folks to take all the necessary precautions, obviously one of the big pieces of advice, do not drive through standing water."

"A lot of times, you don't know what's underneath the roadway, even walking in flooded water, because a lot of times the manhole covers are floated off. People don't understand there may be void spaces under the flooded waters," Padfield said.

Dauphin County Emergency Management, and staff at the Commonwealth Watch and Warning Center are keeping a close eye on the forecast to warn the community of any potentially dangerous conditions.

"A watch means that the potential is there for flash flooding or other severe weather to occur. When we get to the warning environment, it means that it's pretty eminent or is occurring, and they need to take appropriate action," Padfield said.

"Emergency management are on the clock. You don't see them often, but around the clock, 24/7, we've got committed staff in our 911, our com-center, setting up what ever is necessary depending upon the level of concerns," Hartwick said.

Part of their work includes just getting their message out.

"They can sign up for alerts if they don't currently through AlertPA, or through any one of the media outlets that provides that, just so that they're aware of what is going on around them," Padfield said.

"We shouldn't just be in our heels and be reactive when events happen. Part of our role and responsibilities are to be on our toes, and do all that we can do inform the public to hopefully avoid any significant tragedy," Hartwick said.

The warning to avoid driving through standing water isn't just a warning to keep motorists safe, but it also could save people money.

Drivers who go around a road closure and get caught, risk having two points added onto their license.

Anyone who drives through a road closure due to flooding and has to be rescued by emergency responders, could face a $250 fine.