HWM Pilot Summary: Harrisburg, PA

This page highlights the Harrisburg, PA High Water Mark (HWM) Pilot Project which took place on April 29, 2013. See more High Water Mark case studies.

On April 29, 2013, the Harrisburg HWM Launch Event informed the public of their local flood risks by unveiling HWM signs throughout the city. The launch event was meant to educate residents about flood safety and awareness, as well as encourage students to explore careers in science and math.

Launch Event Activities

A number of activities were conducted to support the HWM Launch Event in Harrisburg, PA. Mayor Linda Thompson and FEMA Representative Vincent Brown spoke at a press conference at Benjamin Franklin Middle School. During the event, they described the importance of the HWM Initiative and reinforced how to reduce their local flood risk. Additionally, they encouraged students to take the initiative to learn more about their local risks and to inform their parents about how to prepare for a flood.

Mayor Thompson then invited Vincent Brown (FEMA), Stacey Underwood (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers [USACE]), and Ben Pratt (Susquehanna River Basin Commission) to a roundtable discussion on the Mayor’s cable talk show. They discussed the purpose of the HWM Initiative, the city’s local flood risks, where the public can obtain flood preparedness information, and how the community can reduce its flood risks.

Ben Pratt, Vincent Brown, Charles Ross (NOAA), and Mark Roland (USGS) presented to 7th graders on the functions and roles of each of their respective agencies, local flood awareness, and flood preparedness. The presentation generated numerous questions and comments.

Pilot Participants

  • City of Harrisburg:  Linda Thompson (Mayor), Dr. Sybil Knight-Burney (School District Superintendent), and city representatives, including Kevin Hagerich and Kari Reagan-Bushey
  • Regional:  Ben Pratt (Susquehanna River Basin Commission)
  • State:  Fred Boylstein and Cory Angell, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency
  • Federal:  Stacey Underwood, Marisa Lewis, and Ashley Williams (USACE, Federal lead); Vincent Brown and David Bollinger (FEMA); Mark Roland (USGS), Charles Ross (NOAA National Weather Service [NWS])

Resulting Media Coverage

The HWM Launch Event drew significant media coverage by local news channels and newspapers. For clips from the event visit:

Last updated February 16, 2021