LEWISTOWN - The National Weather Service in State College has issued a high wind warning effective from shortly after daybreak today until 2 p.m. Tuesday and a flood watch until 8 p.m. Tuesday for all of central Pennsylvania.
Thirty-five to 45 mile-per-hour winds are expected with gusts up to 70 miles-per-hour.
"Winds are probably the most damaging thing for us now. It'll be a windy day...that's the biggest risk, with the wet soil and wind coming from a direction we don't normally have," said Mifflin County Director of Emergency Management Phil Lucas. These conditions will make downed trees an even greater possibility, he said.
The damaging winds are expected to last several hours and come from the north or east initially. This will most likely cause numerous trees and wires to be knocked down. Power and other utility outages lasting several minutes to several hours are expected.
"People should be prepared for power to be out for several hours," Lucas said.
According to the NWS, if power is lost, generators, grills and other gasoline, propane or charcoal devices should never be used inside a home or garage, as they produce carbon monoxide. Generators should be placed outside, away from windows and vents that could allow the deadly gas to seep inside. Vehicles should not be allowed to idle inside a garage - even if the garage door is open - for the same reason.
Power outages should never be reported by calling 911. Instead, residents should report outages to the company that owns the lines in the area.
"The power utilities base their responses on the number of people that report an outage, so it's really important that people call these things in themselves," Lucas said.
NWS expects heavy rain to spread into the area today, which could lead to flooding of streams and creeks, with three to six inches of rainfall possible by late Tuesday.
The National Weather Service said locally higher amounts are possible. The higher amounts of rain late Monday and early Tuesday may cause localized flooding in areas prone to flooding or with poor drainage. Extra caution should be exercised when travelling after dark due to potential flooding on roads.
The National Weather Service said the Juniata River is predicted to crest near 16 feet Wednesday morning causing minor flooding along its path and several local roads to be closed.