Barletta Tours Damage Caused by Recent Floods in Dauphin County
HARRISBURG – Today, Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) toured several areas in Dauphin County damaged by recent flooding. Barletta, who was joined by State Representatives Tom Mehaffie (PA-106) and Sue Helm (PA-104), representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Red Cross of Central Pennsylvania, and local elected officials, assessed the flood damage at Engle Road and Bridge over Conewago Creek in Londonderry Township, and the Duke Street Bridge in Hummelstown.
“Pennsylvania’s 11th District is no stranger to flooding, but the storms we saw last week were truly devastating, destroying homes, memories, and lives,” Barletta said. “My prayers are with the families of those who were killed during these storms, as well as those who are recovering from damage to their homes and businesses. I will continue to work with state and local officials to ensure that those affected have all the resources they need to get back on their feet.”
Five days of downpours last week resulted in nearly a foot of rain throughout a 100-mile radius in Pennsylvania, requiring rescues and evacuations. Sadly, the flooding killed 19-year-old Laura Olweiler and an 18-year-old man from Adams County. The Swatara Creek reached 16.5 feet last Wednesday, the second highest level since the weather service began keeping records. Hersheypark and Knoebels Amusement Park in Elysburg were forced to close last Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and according to PennDOT, by Wednesday, over 97 roads were closed. In total, 73 members of the National Guard were on active duty, helping with the flood-related response.
“While I saw firsthand the damage caused by this flooding, I also heard stories about incredible first responders, neighbors helping neighbors, and strangers helping strangers. Moving forward, we must invest in making our communities safer and more resilient before disaster strikes.”
Over the last decade, Pennsylvania has suffered several storms, including Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011. During those historic floods, Barletta toured the severe damage to Columbia and Luzerne Counties. Barletta even brought former Speaker of the House John Boehner to the affected areas in order to obtain more disaster recovery funding for flood victims in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Barletta has long been an advocate of pre-disaster mitigation, which can prevent the devastation brought on by flooding and other disasters and includes a wide variety of activities, such as proactive preparation and planning, elevating or moving structures prone to flooding, and hardening structures to mitigate effects of hurricanes or earthquakes. Such actions are the key focus of Barletta’s Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA). DRRA, which has passed the U.S. House of Representatives twice, reduces the potential for future loss of life and addresses the rising costs of disasters throughout America by increasing the federal emphasis on pre-disaster planning and mitigation. Furthermore, the bill incentivizes building and rebuilding better and smarter to facilitate speedy recovery efforts whenever and wherever disaster strikes. Projects like the flood wall in Bloomsburg demonstrate just how important it is to make investments in our communities before disaster strikes to save lives and taxpayer dollars. DRRA, which was most recently included in the House-passed FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 in April, currently awaits action in the U.S. Senate.
More information about DRRA can be found here.