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Storms wreak havor in area

March 21, 1998|By LAURA ERNDE and DAVE McMILLIONs

Storms wreak havor in area

Heavy rain and lightning storms flooded roads and basements and knocked out power at two hospitals in the Tri-State area Friday night and Saturday, officials said.

No one was reported injured.

Power went out twice at War Memorial Hospital in Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

The Morgan County emergency dispatch center there was left with only one phone line and no emergency radios from about 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. Saturday, said Kim Thomas.

Luckily, there were no 911 calls, she said.

Backup generators were able to take care of most of the hospital's needs in that outage and during a 90-minute outage about 11 p.m. Friday, officials said.

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Washington County Hospital had two or three short blackouts earlier Friday evening, but an emergency generator brought power back within seconds and it didn't cause any problems, a hospital spokeswoman said.

High water closed dozens of Tri-State area roads and led to the voluntary evacuation of two mobile home parks Saturday.

As the water encroached, residents left the Mickey's Inn and Red Bridge mobile home parks, both along the Conococheague Creek north of Chambersburg, Pa., said a Franklin County Central Dispatch spokesman.

In Keedysville, residents of Dogstreet Road helped a man whose car got stuck in high water about 1 a.m., said neighbor Jim Reagan.

"I was sleeping and my wife said someone was screaming for help," Reagan said.

The unidentified man crawled out his car window and onto his roof and neighbors backed up a large pickup truck that the man climbed onto before rescue crews arrived, Reagan said.

In West Virginia, another man had to be rescued from the roof of his van after he unsuccessfully tried to drive over a water-covered bridge on Sulphur Springs Road on the border of Berkeley and Jefferson counties.

Shortly before 8 a.m. Saturday, volunteer firefighters with Citizens Fire Co. extended a truck ladder across the water so the man could crawl to land, rescue officials said.

A woman got stuck while trying to drive through about a foot of water on Henshaw Road about 12:30 p.m., said Mason Butler of South Berkeley Volunteer Fire Department.

She and her two kids were able to walk to safety before emergency crews arrived, Butler said.

In Washington County, there were at least 30 calls for flooded basements, according to rescue officials.

The nearly two inches of rain that fell Friday in the county saturated the ground, and the water began "pushing up" through basement floors of homes, according to Robert Myerly, member of the Civil Defense.

Rescue officials began receiving calls about flooded basements about 1 a.m. Saturday and crews worked through the night to pump water out of homes, officials said.

Fire departments in Williamsport, Funkstown and Fairplay responded to many of the calls. A number of homeowners along College Road off of Sharpsburg Pike also needed help with flooding, officials said.

Weather officials said the Tri-State area should start to see some relief from the rain today. Rain was expected to taper off Saturday night, and today, the sun should start to break through the clouds, according to Barry Goldsmith, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Sterling, Va.

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