News for Constituents

Peak Pennsylvania Tornado Season Upon Us

Peak Pennsylvania tornado season typically runs from April through June, according to the National Weather Service.  However, increased tornadic activity in early 2019 may also indicate an above average number of storms in July and August.

The typical May sees 3 tornadoes in PA, while May 2019 witnessed 13 tornadoes.  The NWS reports 29 tornadoes to date, though PA’s average is 17 tornadoes annually.

Understand the difference between a tornado watch and a warning.  Know what to do before, during, and after a tornado.  Sign up for AlertPA to receive emergency and weather-related alerts, health notifications and other updates from Commonwealth and Federal agencies.

Summer Cookout and Picnic Protections

Annually, one or more of 250 different types of foodborne illnesses infect approximately 48 million people, hospitalize 128,000, and kill 3,000 individuals, according to the PA Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.

Tips for packing, transport, site preparation, cross-contamination, and temperatures for storage, serving, grilling, and cooking of food are outlined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Recognize the most common symptoms of food poisoning including upset stomach, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever and know when to seek medical assistance.  Keep in mind, adults aged 65 and older, children under 5, individuals with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women are at greater risk of illness and permanent damage related to food poisoning.

Who Needs a PA Boater Safety Course?

PA Boater Safety Courses are required for those born after January 1, 1982 to operate boats powered by motors greater than 25 horsepower, according to the PA Fish & Boat Commission (PF&BC).

The lifetime certificate may be earned through successful completion of an approved course, including classroom instruction, online courses, or a home-study video-based course.

The PF&BC-issued Boating Safety Education Certificate includes a waterproof plastic card with a hole to conveniently attach it to your life jacket, boat keys, or a lanyard.

Help PA Tackle the Newest Tick in Town

Worldwide there are more than 500 species of ticks, 25 of which inhabit Pennsylvania.  Of this number, four species have contributed to nearly 90 percent of those submitted for identification, according to the Penn State Extension.

The Asian Longhorned Tick now joins the American dog tick, the blacklegged (deer) tick, the lone star tick, and the ground hog tick seeking warm-blooded mammals, including wildlife and livestock, to feed upon in Pennsylvania.  Wear light-colored clothing and review precautions to avoid exposure.

Diseases carried by the Longhorned tick in its native range of East and Central Asia include anaplasmosis, babesiosis, theleriosis, ehrlichiosis and Powassan encephalitis in animals and humans.  The Longhorned tick is being studied to determine if it will carry pathogens and cause infections outside its native range.  Send specimens (last paragraph) to Penn State University, Insect Identification Laboratory, 501 Agricultural Sciences and Industries Building, University, PA 16802.

Planting to Increase Pollinators and Decrease Invaders

When wildlife begins enjoying your garden a bit too much, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the PA Game Commission recommend proper plant selection.

Pennsylvania’s wildlife occasionally make a guessing game of gardening.  Squirrels, rabbits, and white-tailed deer may have different plans for your garden, turning your backyard into a wildlife buffet.

While planting to discourage deer, add pollinators to increase the numbers of butterflies and hummingbirds.  Try “Green and Gold” as a deer-resistant ground cover, add the striking purple spikes known as “Blazing Star”, and for its mounded texture and arching sprays of bright yellow flowers, add “Rough Stemmed Goldenrod” offering mid to late season color.

Bicycle PA – Thousands of Miles and Smiles Await

Whether you are returning to bicycling from childhood or engaging your children in the thrills behind two wheels gliding through nature, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation touts thousands of miles of safe, accessible bicycle routes. 

PennDOT’s Bike Route Map opens up thousands of miles of bicycling routes, including traffic volumes and speed limits.  Be sure to use the Layers Icon to access the map’s data.

Bicyclists interested in reaching new heights will want to open the new Elevation Web Map to access the elevation profile of your chosen bike route.  Take a few minutes to brush up on biking safety and laws.  Run down the checklist to ensure all riders are ready with the appropriate gear down to the fingerless cycling gloves that cushion and protect hands in case of falls.