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Heavy rains create more headaches across region

  • A Verizon bucket truck splashes high water as it drives north on Route 309 through flooded roads.
    A Verizon bucket truck splashes high water as it drives north on Route 309 through flooded roads.
Published September 24. 2011 09:01AM

Heavy rains returned to soggy Pennsylvania on Friday, triggering high waters that caused authorities to evacuate an apartment complex, postpone high school football games and strand some drivers.

The Wabash Creek, which travels under and through downtown Tamaqua, rose drastically Friday as about four inches of rain fell in less than six hours. Firefighters and Tamaqua Borough workers helped some homeowners on Rowe Street and other areas pump out their basements.

"The last time we got flooded was in 1996," said Gary Smith, of 246 West Rowe St.

Rob Jones, Tamaqua Public Works Director, who was out surveying the water level under downtown streets, said the Wabash Creek tunnel that runs under the town is normally only a few inches high. Friday's rains caused it to rise as high as six feet in the tunnel.

Many roads throughout Rush Township were either flooded, closed or detoured following Friday's rain. Police, firefighters, municipal workers and fire police from Hometown and Quakake spent a majority of their day detouring traffic, closing roads, unclogging drains, removing debris and pumping out basements. Some residents said the water came in fast, causing flooding they've not seen in a long time.

Elsewhere in the state, Creekside Apartments in Gettysburg were flooded out, leaving residents to seek shelter at a nearby fire hall. There was flooding in Hanover and water as high as three feet above the surface of a heavily traveled state road in Bonneauville, The Evening Sun of Hanover reported.

Adams County 911 said there was extensive flooding throughout the county, numerous roads in Gettysburg were shut down, and there were a few water rescues from smaller streams.

Storm water created a hazard for drivers along Front Street in Harrisburg, which borders the Susquehanna River, the Patriot-News said.

The National Weather Service warned that minor flooding was possible in towns that are still recovering from the ravages of what had been Tropical Storm Lee earlier this month, including Bloomsburg, Milton and Sunbury.

Carbon and Schuylkill counties were hit by about two inches of rain by early afternoon, and creeks in northeast Philadelphia were expected to overflow after more than an inch of rain fell quickly.

The Times-Tribune of Scranton said at least two football games had to be rescheduled until Saturday.

National Weather Service meteorologist Bruce Budd in State College said the big surge of showers was expected to last into Friday night, but there was a risk of more on Saturday, particularly in eastern Pennsylvania. Off-and-on storms were forecast for parts of Pennsylvania into Wednesday, he said.

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