Centre sees ‘flood event’

BELLEFONTE – The Centre County Board of Commissioners pausing to honor the memories of those lost on Sept. 11, 2001, on Tuesday night.

Keith Bierly, former Commissioner, recalled the moment the board learned of the attack on the Pentagon and then the crash of Flight 93 in Shanksville.

“We were in session, and had monitored the attacks in New York, but then we recessed,” he said. “Years later, I went to work in Harrisburg. The press secretary of our office – talk about a small world – her father owned that land where the plane crashed.”

The Board then proceeded almost immediately to the topic on everyone’s mind: flooding, evacuations, and preparation for the next round of storms predicted for later this week.

The Centre County Swift Water Rescue team assisted residents and animals with evacuation along Bald Eagle Creek and Penns Creek, Jeff Wharran, director of the Emergency Management Agency, told the board.

The Philipsburg YMCA was open and available for shelter.

Eagle Valley Personal Care Home in Milesburg was voluntarily evacuated as were residents in several mobile home parks, he said.

“We had a slow flood event here, where several creeks approached record levels,” Wharran said. “As of midnight, they are starting to recede.”

The National Weather Service had issued a flood warning Monday morning for Bald Eagle Creek, which runs through the middle of the borough. It spilled its banks late Monday night, and a state of emergency was issued for the borough.

Tuesday’s break in the rain may or may not be the calm before Florence. National Weather Service forecasters predict a Thursday evening landfall for this hurricane in the Carolinas. For Centre County, predictions are heavy rainfall late Sunday and Monday.

“We are hoping it doesn’t come and stall over here because the ground is already saturated,” Wharran said.

Once a flood watch or warning is issued, first-responders are on alert, Wharran said.

“Once it goes to ‘warning,’ they go to their fire stations,” he said.

Board Chair Michael Pipe reminded residents to be storm-ready, with emergency provisions at home, such as nonperishable food, bottled water, extra batteries for flashlights, and be ready to evacuate if need be.

More information on emergency preparedness is available at “http://www.readypa.org” www.readypa.org, including checklists, vehicle emergency kit, planning for companion animals, and storing important documents.