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Area rocked by flash flooding and high winds

Published May 29. 2012 05:00PM

Area communities were taken by surprise after a strong, yet fast-moving, rainstorm overwhelmed our area Saturday. Up to 10 inches of rain fell in less than an hour. Every community in our area was affected by the storm in one way or another, ranging from heavy rains, high winds, small hail, flooding, fallen trees, power outages, road closures, and earthen erosion.

In addition to pumping out homes and businesses, firefighters and emergency personnel were out in force controlling traffic, removing road debris, closing roads and offering assistance to stranded motorists.

Although the storm came and went in less than a few hours, it's aftermath was plain to see. Most damage was related to the erosion left from the moving surface water. In some areas, the force of the water was so strong that it ripped up tar and lifted heavy pieces of asphalt from area roads.

Most power outages only ranged for a second or two. Some areas of Schuylkill County were without power for a longer period of time after trees or branches fell onto power lines. In both McAdoo and West Mahanoy Township, PennDOT said roadways were washed out.

On Facebook, multiple residents reported receiving small hail in Middleport and Quakake.

John Matz, coordinator, Schuylkill County Emergency Management (SCEMA), mentioned that a majority of the flooding was in the eastern portion of the county, with McAdoo being most affected.

West Penn, in the area of Tabernacle Church, Walker Township, was also affected heavily by the storm.

Photos online show a fast-moving river rising above a bridge.

He added that flooding was reported just after 4 p.m., the same time the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning.

Craig Evanego, meteorologist at National Weather Service, State College, reported, "It was just a lot of rain in a short period of time. With the heating of the day, we expected some showers and thunderstorms to pop up."

He added, "That's plenty of fuel for storms and a lot of moisture in that atmosphere."

Talking about areas of Schuylkill County, Evanego, mentioned that most areas received between 3 to 6 inches of rain.

The Schuylkill County Emergency Management Agency said in a press release that flash floods and damages were reported in several municipalities throughout the county. PPL's website showed about a hundred people without power an hour after the storm retreated. These areas included the communities and townships of Rush, Ryan, Wayne, East Union, Blythe, North Union and Wayne.

By later in the evening, only a few residents were shown as not having power and Schuylkill County Communications said there were at least two roads that were still closed.

Matz said PennDOT assisted in road cleanup.

SCEMA is asking residents to not to drive through standing or running water, stressing to simply turn around.

They also told residents with property damage to contact and inform their local municipality.

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