A band of unusually heavy rain Friday afternoon over a swath of southcentral Pennsylvania closed roads and stranded vehicles on one of the busiest travel days of the year.
Parts of York, Lebanon and Lancaster counties were drenched with about 5 inches of rain over several hours, and some rain gauges recorded more than 9 inches, said Eric Horst, meteorology instructor and director of Millersville University's Weather Information Center.
The thunderstorms closed a portion of Interstate 283 near Mount Joy. Several miles of Route 462 and Route 30, which connect eastern York and western Lancaster counties, also were shut down near Wrightsville. York and Lancaster officials said there were multiple water rescues.
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The roof of an old warehouse collapsed near Hallam. The National Weather Service put large parts of the region under flash flood warnings. A portion of Main Street in Mount Joy was transformed into a raging river. The region is still drying out from a week of heavy rains in late July and from what overall has been a wet summer. Horst said about 41 inches of rain fall in a typical year, and about 30 inches of rain have fallen since the start of June.
"The ground being saturated isn't helping at all," said Lancaster County Commissioner Dennis Stuckey. "We had a few days of sunshine but not enough to dry everything out."
Horst said the heaviest rains on Friday came down in the area of Mount Joy, Manheim and Sporting Hill, a farmland region of gently rolling hills. He said the stationary storm has been fueled by a tropical plume of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.