Wet and weary

June 08, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

A storm that passed through the Tri-State area Saturday dropped almost 2 inches of rain in Hagerstown and flooded basements, closed some roads, stranded animals and caused other problems, emergency officials said.

The storm complicated problems caused earlier by all the rain in recent weeks, officials said.

National Weather Service forecaster Steve Rogowski said there was a 30 percent chance of showers Saturday night, but the area should otherwise be free of rain until about Wednesday. More rain is expected from Wednesday through next Sunday, he said.

The Internet site of Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer reported 1.77 inches of rain in Hagerstown on Saturday.

Already this month, there has been 4.87 inches of rain in Hagerstown, higher than the June average of 3.83 inches, according to Keefer's Internet site.


The 8.21 inches of rain that fell in May broke the record of 8.09 inches in May 1989, Keefer's site said.

Local governments had reported problems, including flooded roads and basements, earlier in the week due to the rain in May and June.

Washington County 911 dispatchers reported getting more calls Saturday from people reporting flooding in their basements.

On Saturday, for the second time this week, the city of Hagerstown and Washington County had heavy diluted wastewater leave its treatment plants without being completely treated due to the rains.

Washington County emergency officials said they responded about 11:26 a.m. Saturday to reports of a house that collapsed at 16735 Taylors Landing Road due to the storm. Details were not immediately available Saturday evening.

Tri-State weekend events were affected by the rain, with some postponed and others canceled. Several events went on as scheduled but with activities moved under roofs - and plenty of umbrellas.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources discouraged people from using the Upper Potomac River for boating or other recreational uses this weekend.

Brown, swiftly-moving flood water covered many low-lying, rural areas of Franklin County Saturday afternoon.

At Twin Bridge Meadow Family Campground, which lies at the confluence of Dennis Creek and Back Creek, much of the normally crowded meadow was under water.

Florence Mackey, who owns the campground with her husband, Wilbur, said they canceled many reservations for the weekend because of the forecast.

"The stream was up, and with the rain we had Monday it flooded, then it flooded again today," she said.

A few hardy campers showed up at the campground on Crider's Church Road and Twin Bridge Road west of Chambersburg.

"We put them where we thought they'd be safe," Mackey said.

She said the campground had experienced a big flood in 1996, but the past few summers have been dry.

"It's just whatever Mother Nature decides to hand out," she said.

A few recreational vehicles were parked east of the streams on higher ground.

Many farm meadows in the Edenville-St. Thomas area northwest of Chambersburg were at least partially submerged by the swollen streams.

In southeastern Franklin County, the stream flowing beside the Waynesboro Country Club lapped over its banks while water covered roads in several low-lying areas.

The Hamilton Ruritan Community Park on Edenville Road was submerged by Back Creek, which runs at the western boundary of the popular picnic spot.

Lt. Thomas Gorman, with the Bedington Volunteer Fire Department in Berkeley County, W.Va., said W.Va. 9 west of Martinsburg had to be shut down for a while because of water over the road. The water was near Independent Bible Church in Hedgesville.

Several spots along U.S. 11 north of Martinsburg also were covered with 11/2 to 2 feet of water, Gorman said. Cars were able to drive through it, he said.

A 911 dispatcher in Jefferson County, W.Va., said she was not aware of any problems.

Staff correspondent Bonnie Hellum Brechbill and staff writer Candice Bosely contributed to this story.

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