Flood Warnings in Effect as Water Recedes

Creeks start to recede in some areas but the damage is done

Though roads are mostly clear in the Phialdelphia area Friday morning, flood warnings are still in effect for the area.

Pennsylvania's Flood Emergency went to Level 1 on Thursday afternoon as more than 100,000 people living near flood-swollen waterways in our region were being evacuated. Sewage treatment plants were under water, hospital patients were being moved, roads closed and all the furniture on the first floor of the Governor's mansion in Harrisburg was cleared because of flooding fears.

Municipalities in Pa. and N.J. began evacuating residents Thursday morning as flood waters continued to rise, and four people have already died from flood-related incidents. By evening some rivers and creeks started to recede but the damage was already done.

The Kelly Drive in Philadelphia remained closed late Thursday as flood waters from the Schuylkill River began to recede. The road likely won't be reopened in the East Falls area in time for the morning commute, Philadelphia Police said.

The Neshaminy Creek was also dropping faster than expected Thursday night, Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz said.

But some of the area rivers still hadn't crested approaching midnight Thursday -- areas like Easton, Pottstown and Riegelsville could still see Moderate Flooding, Schwartz said.

The remnants of Tropical Storm Lee were expected to drop anywhere from 2 to 5 inches of rain in the Garden State, where many residents were still cleaning up after Hurricane Irene. The rising water of the Delaware River had Trenton officials evacuating all residents of Glen Afton Thursday morning.

Flash flooding shut down roads, train lines and closed schools in many parts of our area.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission was forced to close the road around 4 p.m. Thursday in both directions between Harrisburg East (exit 247) & Reading (exit 286) due to flooding. The Commission urged motorists to limit travel from the Carlisle to Downingtown Interchanges.

Just after finally getting everything up and running after Hurricane Irene, SEPTA was once again dealing with delays and cancellations due to storm damage. Parts of tracks caved in and SEPTA was forced to shut down some Regional Rail Lines, SEPTA tweeted.

A bridge spanning the Delaware River between New Hope, Pa., and Lambertville, N.J., and the Centre Bridge-Stockton Bridge were closed as flood waters carried debris downriver. The spans will remain closed overnight, officials said.

Down the river in Yardley, Pa. residents were also evacuating their flooded town. The Red Cross opened a shelter at the William Penn Middle School in Yardley for people seeking higher, dryer ground but only a handful were there as of midnight. Similar scant populations were also seen at shelters in Pottstown, according to the Red Cross.

Bloomsburg University canceled classes through the weekend due to flooding from the nearby Susquehanna River.

The mandatory evacuation of more than 100,000 people was ordered in areas along the Susquehanna River affected by massive flooding from Hurricane Agnes in 1972. In Lycoming County a two-lane bridge partially collapsed due to flooding.

Overnight 500 members of the Pennsylvania National Guard and volunteers with the Swift Water Rescue Craft were put on call to assist in flood-damaged areas.

“Right now state and local officials are actively responding to this disaster,’’ Gov. Tom Corbett said late Thursday afternoon. “As the water recedes we will assess the damage to our communities, roads, bridges, and water and sewage plants. We are still responding.’’ 

"We expect this crisis to continue through the weekend," Corbett said. The Level 1 Flood Emergency is the highest possible he said. Hurricane Irene's was a Level 2 disaster.

Non-essential government employees working in Capital Complex, Harrisburg area, Reading & Scranton Offices were given off Friday due to the flooding, the state said.

Wernersville State Hospital in Berks County was moving 266 patients to other hospitals and sewage treatment plants near Hershey were under water and no longer working.

One of the most dramatic images from the flooding came from the Conestoga River in Millersville, Pa. where what a appeared to be a piece of a house floating down the river was torn apart after striking a bridge. The moment was caught on YouTube.

Lee's remnants are being blamed for four deaths in Pennsylvania, including a man trapped when his basement walls collapsed and a motorist killed while trying to warn other drivers about dangerous flood waters.

Northern Lebanon Township Police say a driver who became stuck in flood waters around 4:30 a.m. was fatally struck by another vehicle after getting out to warn other drivers of the high water.

Two people were killed in separate incidents early Thursday in Lancaster County. County emergency management director Randy Gockley says a motorist was trapped in a vehicle and another person trying to wade through rushing waters was swept away.

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