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Region dries out, waits for more rain

June 27, 2006|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY

As Washington County wrung itself out after back-to-back bouts with sopping rain, the National Weather Service projected "major flooding" of the Conococheague Creek by Wednesday morning.

The Weather Service also predicted high levels at other local waterways, with more rain possible this week and a flash-flood watch through this evening.

Hagerstown got 3 inches of rain on Sunday and 2.35 inches more Monday, according to weather observer Greg Keefer's Web site at i4weather.net.

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In Leitersburg, Ruby Robertson of Leiters Mill Road said she is used to water running down the road and covering lawns. But Monday was different - the worst she's seen.

"I had at least 10 inches in my yard," she said.

Next door, the cistern on Matthew Schooley's property was full. He tried to make sure it didn't overflow into the basement.

Across Leitersburg Pike to the northwest, where Leiters Mill Road plunges down deeper, brown water covered the road near Antietam Creek.

Trying to get through to Millers Church Road, Fred Porter drove his Chevrolet Beretta through the water, but stopped near the bridge. He put the car in reverse and returned the way he came.

Diane Mongan, a Washington County Highway Department administrative assistant, said Monday morning that Leiters Mill and Battletown roads in the Leitersburg area were closed, along with Md. 63 between Broadfording and Resh roads.

Ed Plank, director of the Washington County Highway Department, said Cress Pond Road also was closed.

Monday afternoon, low-lying spots of Leiters Mill and Battletown roads remained flooded. Still, some motorists - mostly in trucks - drove past "high water" signs and through those sections successfully.

Northern Avenue in Hagerstown was flooded with about 8 inches of water, according to a summary City Engineer Rodney Tissue prepared for city spokeswoman Karen Giffin.

The Mitchell Avenue railroad underpass flooded, as did Magnolia Avenue where it crosses Hamilton Run, according to Tissue's summary.

At the city's golf course, fairways 2 and 6 flooded, according to a summary Parks Superintendent Junior Mason prepared. The course will be closed today.

Municipal Stadium had the worst flooding that Kurt Landes, the Hagerstown Suns' president and general manager, has seen in five years with the team.

Landes said the field flooded Sunday night. The team's offices and clubhouse were left with 2 or 3 inches of standing water. Water filled both dugouts to the brim. The concourse area closest to Town Run, a storm water collection stream, had 2 to 3 feet of water.

Bad weather postponed Sunday's game against Lakewood, but Landes said the stadium should be ready in time for Wednesday's game against Delmarva.

By then, Conococheague Creek might be overflowing near Fairview, according to a National Weather Service projection.

At 6:30 p.m. Monday, that section of the creek stood at 6.59 feet, according to the Weather Service.

With more rain expected, the Weather Service estimated the creek's water level would rise to 15.0 feet by 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Fifteen feet is considered "major flood stage." Eight feet is "action stage" and 11 feet is "moderate flood" stage.

Opequon Creek in Berkeley County, W.Va., was projected to reach 13.6 feet by 2 p.m. Wednesday, more than 3 feet above flood stage.

The Monocacy River near Frederick, Md., was projected to hit 18.1 feet, crossing into the moderate flood stage.

At Sharpsburg, Antietam Creek might reach 10.6 feet by Wednesday afternoon. Eleven feet is moderate flood stage, the Weather Service says.

The Weather Service on Monday morning issued a flash-flood watch through this evening for Washington County and West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle.

The forecast says there's a 40 percent chance of rain on Wednesday and a 30 percent chance on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Firefighters at the Williamsport, Sharpsburg, Longmeadow, Maugansville and Clear Spring fire departments on Monday reported few flood calls.

Allegheny Power spokeswoman Brooke Rinier said Monday morning that about 20 Hagerstown-area customers lost electricity because of branches falling on power lines, but the problems were fixed by evening, said Janice Lantz.

Hagerstown Light Department had two calls Sunday for wind knocking branches onto wires, Manager Karl Kohler wrote in a summary for Giffin.

The weather caused minor roof leaks at Maugansville and Lincolnshire elementary schools, Washington County Public Schools spokesman Will Kauffman said. Also, a downed tree caused minor damage at Hancock Middle-Senior High School.

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