Rep. Barletta Hurricane Irene Statement
HAZLETON– U.S. Representative Lou Barletta, PA-11, issued the following statement in the wake of Hurricane Irene, which impacted all five counties of his congressional district:
I want to extend my condolences to the families of those who were killed here in Northeastern Pennsylvania during this storm. They and their families will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Many parts of the 11th Congressional District have felt the impact of Hurricane Irene’s strong winds and heavy rain. Thousands of people are without power, and some will remain that way for days. Some cannot access roads or bridges. Some have seen personal property destroyed, while others are still threatened with the loss of their property.
My office has received – and will continue to receive – updates and briefings from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Weather Service, and other federal and state agencies in order to ensure the safety of the residents of the 11th Congressional District.
I will work with those agencies to make sure the federal government provides the appropriate response to this natural disaster. I will tour storm-damaged areas starting Monday morning so I can see first-hand the damage caused by Hurricane Irene, and will relay my observations and concerns at the federal level.
Sunday evening, Governor Tom Corbett asked President Obama to make a Presidential Disaster Declaration for several Pennsylvania counties, including Monroe County. Based on the firsthand reports I received from Monroe County officials, I fully support that declaration, and I will send a letter of support for that declaration to the president.
Representative Barletta personally spoke with emergency management officials in all five counties of the 11th Congressional District on Sunday evening.
Carbon County – Reported a section of Palmerton was temporarily evacuated due to a rising creek, but residents were allowed back home after the water subsided. The county experienced sporadic power outages but considered the situation stabilized by 4:30 p.m.
Columbia County– Reported wind damage in the northern parts of the county and flood concerns in the southern parts of the county. Emergency operations were ended Sunday afternoon.
Lackawanna County– Reported four inches of rain from the storm, which knocked down trees and power lines. The Lackawanna River, streams, and creeks remained in their banks.
Luzerne County– There was one reported fatality; a man died when a tree fell onto his camper. Officials reported sections of damage, mostly due to strong winds toppling trees and power lines, especially in the Mountain Top and Exeter Township areas. Officials reported “close calls” with flooding. Officials said most of the damage in the county occurred in Kingston and the Back Mountain (the 10th Congressional District). The county received between six and nine inches of rain.
Monroe County– The hardest hit of the counties in the 11th District. A man died when a tree fell onto him. Officials reported that 40,000 residents were still without power as of 6 p.m., while telephone and Internet service were also disrupted in spots. Sections of the county sustained serious flooding, and officials were closely monitoring the Delaware River, which had not yet crested. Downed trees are reported all across the county.