Rain closes roads, schools

Flooded roads cancel bus routes, knock out power

Flooded roads cancel bus routes, knock out power

May 17, 2003|by TARA REILLY and SCOTT BUTKI

Nearly 3 inches of rain that fell Thursday night and Friday in Hagerstown caused the closure of roads throughout the Tri-State area and led to some schools being dismissed early.

More than 20 Washington County roads were closed at least temporarily Friday and county schools were dismissed an hour early due to flooding and rising creeks, Public Information Officer Carol Mowen said.

As of 6 p.m. Friday, Hagerstown received 2 inches of rain, according to Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer's Web site. On Thursday night, the city received 1.98 inches, Keefer said.


Washington County Highway Department Director Ted Wolford said the county began having a problem with flooding about 7 a.m.

Mowen said standing water and flooded roads caused delays, rerouted of buses and cancellation of some bus routes. She said bus routes in Boonsboro were also affected by a downed utility pole on South Main Street as a result of an accident.

Greenbrier Elementary School was without electricity from 9:20 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. due to a downed line elsewhere in the Greenbrier area, she said.

Despite the flooding, all schools opened on time, Mowen said.

Washington County Public Schools canceled afternoon kindergarten at Greenbrier, Pleasant Valley, Sharpsburg and Boonsboro elementary schools.

Hagerstown and Washington County officials said that among the roads closed, at least partially, Friday were: Memorial Avenue from South Potomac Street to Maryland Avenue, Boonsboro Mountain Road, Gruber Road, Pecktonville Road, Erntsville Road, King Road, Mount Carmel Road, Marble Quarry Road and Dog Street.

Also closed were Trego Mountain Road, Porterstown Road, Reno Monument Road, Burnside Bridge Road, Monroe Road, Roxbury Road, Ridenour Road, Crystal Falls at Ridenour Road, Mt. Aetna Road at Route 66, Battletown Road, Beaver Cheek Road at Cool Hollow Road, Clopper Road, Independence Road, Lehman Road and Leiters Mill Road.

In Berkeley County, W.Va., some roads were closed but no major problems were reported, said Steve Allen, director of the county's Office of Emergency Services.

The roads that were closed should probably reopen sometime today if weather permits, said Mark Baker, assistant superintendent with the county's Division of Highways office. Those roads included Douglas Grove Road, Allensville Road, Henshaw Road and Baxter Road.

Another half-dozen or so roads were closed Friday morning but reopened later in the day, Baker said.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation put up signs and high-water warning markers on five Franklin County roads, said Bill McDowell, assistant manager of PennDOT's Franklin County office. Those roads were still passable Friday afternoon.

The roads were Country Club Road outside Waynesboro, Hill Road between Greencastle and Upton, Locust Level Road south of Welsh Run, Lemar Road between Upton and Lemasters, Corner Road south of Mercersburg and Mount Pleasant Road in Fayetteville.

"We have many locations that are hard to get drained. It's tough to keep up in rains like this," McDowell said.

In Hagerstown, about 5 inches of rain has fallen so far this month. The rain Thursday night and Friday morning has brought the rain total for the year to 19.28 inches, according to Keefer's Web site.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources encouraged people to avoid boating and other recreational uses of the Upper Potomac River this weekend.

Staff writers Richard Belisle and Candice Bosely contributed to this story.

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