Heavy rains call for evacuation under dams in Johnstown area – Daily Local

Marc Scorforo

Harrisburg, PA (AP) – Emergency officials rushed to evacuate around 3,000 people under a dam near Johnstown on Wednesday after several hours of heavy rain triggered plans to secure residents downstream. ..

Art Martinuska, head of emergency management in Cambria County and head of the 911 Center, said the water level at the Wilmore Dam had reached a height requiring evacuation. Hinkston Random is also being monitored and may require an evacuation, Martinuska said.

The Wilmore Dam “has reached the stage where the emergency action plan calls for the evacuation of the flooded areas downstream of the dam,” Martinuska said. Both dams are a few miles from Johnstown.

The evacuees were taken to a nearby high school with the help of the Red Cross, the National Guard, local transport and school transport.

There have been other minor evacuations in Cambria County, Martinuska said.

Pennsylvania was soaked in anticipation of heavy rains and high winds when debris from Hurricane Aida hit the state and inundated streams, streams and rivers.

“If you can stay home today, stay home,” Governor Tom Wolf said at a press conference from the Office for Emergency Management headquarters in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He warned that cities, rivers and flash floods were expected until Thursday.

“The best thing we can all do right now is stay home and stay safe,” Wolff said.

The National Weather Service has warned that the greatest risk of flooding is traveling hundreds of miles along the Maryland border to the mountains south of State College. The Susquehanna River is expected to peak on Thursday, and a small tornado threat has been reported.

PennDOT said more than 50 roads had already been closed by midnight Wednesday as the system arrived in the western part of the state. After the school bus got stuck in high water in the Pittsburgh area, a boat was needed to rescue the students.

Randy Padfield, the state’s emergency manager, said rain and strong winds over already wet ground and thick-leafed trees increased the likelihood of a power outage.

In the Harrisburg area, countless schools, businesses and other institutions are planning to close or close earlier, as it was expected to rain more than 12cm before strong winds arrived late in the day. low.

Late Tuesday, the Wolf issued a disaster emergency that would deploy a team to respond to the storm and its aftermath.

About 120 National Guardsmen were activated and supported the operation of about 3 dozen high clearance turbines capable of performing the evacuation. The guards were also part of the state’s helicopter water rescue team.

The 24-hour operation of the Federal State Response Coordination Center began on Wednesday morning.

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