Threat of severe flooding over
Several houses sit in standing water, roads are closed, and Keystone Central classrooms remain empty today.
Locals are still feeling the distress of the recent rain today, even though word came Tuesday that the river had crested at both Lock Haven and Renovo.
Kevin Fanning, Clinton County director of Emergency Services, noted that the river at Renovo crested at the flood stage, 16 feet, at approximately 3 a.m. Tuesday.
In Lock Haven, the river crested at just under 22 feet about 10 a.m. Tuesday, and was predicted to drop quickly.
“It’s expected the river level will drop below 19 feet by 11 p.m. Tuesday night. It could drop a little faster,” Fanning said.
“The rain has stopped and the threat of severe flooding in Clinton County is over… at least for now. It’s too soon to know what Florence might do,” he said of the hurricane that may make landfall Thursday between South Carolina and North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
The high waters of the Susquehanna River’s west branch were still a sight to behold Tuesday morning, with several local residents observing the flooding at Lockport Boat Launch Park, on the Woodward Township side of Veterans Bridge. The boat launch was completely submerged and the parking lot almost completely underwater.
Keith Frantz, of Mill Hall, said the scene was “like a Stephen King novel. Everyone is in a panic. I’m not a picture guy, but this is worth coming out to see.”
“I have a boat, I hang out on the river all the time,” he added.
“In 2004 it might have been this high; it might have been in 2011. Not sure which was worse, categorically, but this seems worse,” he said.
The City of Lock Haven was standing by, in case the river rose to 24 feet and city staff would have to prepare the levee gate for the Jay Street end of Veterans Bridge. The city had already prepared to assemble the gate at the lowest levee closure, which is near the airport. Fortunately, the river did not reach high enough for any of the gates to be deployed.
Cody Coleman, a Lock Haven resident and volunteer firefighter, said he expected high water from streams to close several roads in the Dunnstown area and other points in Woodward Township.
“I was here at 1 a.m. Monday night, and you could get into the parking lot (of the boat launch),” Coleman said. “Now, you can’t. I didn’t think it would come up that far.”
Coleman and Frantz were just a few of the concerned citizens who wanted to catch a glimpse of the river’s water level.
“It’s amazing, a sight to behold,” Coleman added.
Fanning said, “We were up all night… in contact with the city… to decide at what point we would take preparatory action and begin talking about when to close the gates. We decided that would be when the river reached 24 feet.”
River Road/Island Road from Pine Creek Township to the city remained closed as the river overflowed in several areas, Fanning said.
“People who live there are well aware of the situation and kept in touch with us. Some chose to leave their homes, others remain,” he said.
There was low-level flooding in several traditional areas, he said, mentioning the Beech Creek which overflowed in the community of Beech Creek, and the Marsh Creek area in Centre County.
Also, Bald Eagle Creek was up to 15.1 feet Tuesday in the Cottage Lane area of Bald Eagle Township, with some flooding along Cottage Lane and near Central Mountain High School.
Severe flooding also happened in the Castanea area, with most of the area around the Castanea Fire Hall on Hanna Street and the ballfields at Upper Creek Park completely submerged. A few roadways were closed around South Hanna Street and around the Jarrett Avenue bridge into Castanea.
“The same is true, people living there are well aware of the issues and decide whether to stay or leave their homes,” Fanning said.
Hogan Boulevard was down to one lane Tuesday afternoon, due to water at the entrance to Millbrook Plaza, where Ollie’s and the Shoe Department are going in.
Road closings in the Jersey Shore area yesterday included Route 44 between Main/Allegheny streets in Jersey Shore and Main Street in Nippenose Township, and Little Pine Creek Road between Route 287 in Pine Township and Little Pine Camp Area Road in Cummings Township.
Fanning said the department had eyes on Fishing Creek, but there were no problems.
A car became stuck in water on Park Avenue, Woolrich, and the occupant had to be rescued by Woolrich firefighters by boat, Fanning said.
However, there were no reports of injuries or other major problems, he said.
“Now it’s just a waiting game for the water to go back down. There was very little property damage. It was more of a nuisance than anything else,” he said.
Still, the county Department of Emergency Services urges residents to exercise extreme caution at all times and to never attempt to drive a vehicle across flooded roadways.