Jeanne leaves us soggy

Area got more rain than was predicted

Area got more rain than was predicted

September 29, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

TRI-STATE - The remnants of Hurricane Jeanne did not pass quietly Tuesday despite forecasters' predictions that only about an inch or two of rain would fall on the Tri-State area.

Several municipalities were doused with twice that amount.

Hagerstown had its largest rainfall in more than seven years, and areas of Franklin County, Pa., and Frederick County, Md., reported about 5 inches of rain in some spots.

AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Anderson said the storm traveled farther north than expected before heading into the Atlantic Ocean, resulting in more than twice the amount of rain falling than was predicted.


Among the highest totals reported in Washington County was 3.75 inches in Boonsboro, reported by weather observer Barbara Snook. Other amounts included 3.25 inches in Hagerstown, reported on the I4 Weather Web site; 2.65 inches in Clear Spring, reported by weather observer Pat McCusker; and about 2.5 inches, reported by RC Willson Water Treatment Plant operator Justin Griffith.

According to the I4 Weather Web site of weather observer Greg Keefer, Hagerstown was hit with its largest rainfall since Sept. 10, 1997, when more than 3.6 inches fell in the city.

Most weather observers said roads were soaked but passable Tuesday.

"They weren't too bad," Griffith said. "When it was raining hard, they flooded pretty quick, but as soon as it slowed down, they weren't too bad."

Washington County Highway Department Director Ted Wolford said 17 county roads sustained some degree of flooding. Wolford said none of them was closed at any point Tuesday because all, including one that briefly was covered with about 5 inches of standing water, were passable.

He said signs were placed at the roads to warn drivers of high water levels.

Two water rescues were reported with 15 minutes of each other.

A car was towed out of an area with standing water in the 19600 block of Dogstreet Road, at about 2:45 p.m., said Shawn Grogan, a firefighter with the First Hose Co. of Boonsboro.

About 15 minutes later, a second water rescue was conducted on Mount Briar Road, said Lt. Henri Jones of the Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Co. Jones said a driver lost control on the flooded road and the vehicle ended up in a drainage ditch.

"This was the prime example of why you don't go through high water," Jones said.

No injuries were reported in either incident.

Hagerstown closed West Memorial Boulevard because of flooding, said Hagerstown Public Works Manager Eric Deike.

Washington County Public Schools spokeswoman Carol Mowen said several bus routes, especially in the Boonsboro area, were changed because of high water levels on roads.

"It required a lot of backtracking by the drivers," Mowen said.

She said the parents of more than a dozen students had to pick up their children at schools because some bus routes could not be completed.

There were more than a dozen accidents resulting in minor injuries and many more resulting in property damage as a result of the road conditions, a Washington County 911 Center dispatcher said. He said most of the reports came from the Hagerstown, Boonsboro and Sharpsburg areas.

Municipalities along the Potomac River did not experience water levels above designated flood stages. Anderson said that was because the heaviest rain was in the eastern part of the county and beyond. Across the county border, more than 5 inches of rain was reported in several Frederick County communities, he said.


In Pennsylvania, emergency management officials in Fulton County were monitoring flooding problems while still assessing damage from the remnants of Hurricane Ivan two weeks ago.

Emergency Management Director Lisa Sherman said the Central Fulton, Southern Fulton and Forbes Road school districts dismissed students at 1 p.m. because of concerns over heavy rains that threatened to render some roads impassable. She said the National Weather Service was predicting more than 3 inches of rain for the county and a flood watch was in effect until 8 p.m.

Sherman said she was to meet today with officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to update the assessment of damage caused Sept. 17 and 18 by Ivan, where some areas received as much as 9 inches of rain.

At about 3 p.m., Sherman said one road - Johnsons Drive in Todd Township - was closed due to flooding.

The Franklin County 911 Center reported that sections of five roads were closed at 5 p.m. Those included Fayette Street in Southampton Township; near the Franklin County Career and Technology Center in Guilford Township; Williamson Road at Sportsmans Road in Antrim Township; Stonebridge Road at the Antrim Township/St. Thomas Township line; and Commerce Street in Chambersburg.

One water rescue was reported on Commerce Street shortly after 3 p.m. where a vehicle was stranded in high water, but no one was hurt, according to a dispatcher.

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