City gives tips to brave first severe storm of hurricane season
Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management has issued some tips for residents to brave what’s expected to be the first severe storm of the hurricane season, forecast to affect the city Thursday afternoon through Friday morning
“As with any major storm that may impact Philadelphia, we are working closely with the National Weather Service and providing updates to a number of agencies,” Deputy Managing Director Samantha Phillips said in a statement.
“If weather conditions warrant, we will activate the city’s Emergency Operations Center to continue to monitor the storm and coordinate response efforts.”
The National Weather Service has forecast one to four inches of rain for the Philadelphia region, with higher amounts possible.
River and creeks are already running high due to heavy rains on Friday and Monday, so officials say it won’t take much precipitation to create new areas of flooding, including flash flooding.
Areas along small streams and creeks and areas of poor drainage pose the greatest flooding threats Thursday and Thursday night.
Minor flooding around the Schuylkill River is also possible, according to city officials.
The National Weather Service is also forecasting straight-line winds of up to 58 miles per hour and possible isolated tornados Thursday between 2 p.m. and midnight.
Residents are reminded that a tornado watch means a tornado could form in the next few hours, while a tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar and citizens should seek shelter immediately.
A number of city agencies have been gearing up for the storm.
The Department of Licenses and Inspections has reminded contractors to safely secure building materials and construction equipment from high winds and to safeguard building sites from heavy rain.
The Water Department is cleaning flood-prone storm drains in low-lying areas and encouraging residents to clear trash and debris from storm drains on their blocks.
Philadelphians are advised to stay tuned to local news for the latest information regarding possible bridge, road and transit closures due to high winds and flooding.
Before the worst of the weather arrives, residents are also advised to:
Sign up for the region’s emergency text and email alert system ReadyNotifyPA to receive severe weather updates.
Monitor National Weather Service forecasts for the region.
Follow the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management on Twitter.
Make an itemized list of personal property including furnishings, clothing and valuables.
Fill out an Emergency Plan Card with emergency information and contacts for both individuals and family members.
Keep protective materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber on hand if you live in a flood-susceptible area, such as Cobbs Creek, the Main Street area in Manayunk and along Kelly and Lincoln Drives, portions of the Philadelphia Naval Base and city creeks, including the Pennypack, Poquessing, Cobbs, Tacony, Frankford and Wissahickon creeks.
Those in flood prone areas should make alternate arrangements to stay with family or friends on higher ground and be prepared to evacuate, if needed.
If citizens encounter floods or standing water as they are driving, they are advised to turn around and take another route, or to wait until the water recedes. It only takes eighteen inches of water to lift a car or SUV, according to the Office of Emergency Management.
In the event of a tornado warning, residents should prepare for possible power outages, determine a place of protection – such as a basement, the lowest point of a home or an interior room or hallway with few or new windows.
If no shelter can be found, citizens should lie flat in a ditch or other low-lying area.