Storm swells waterways, damages buildings in Franklin County

October 31, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • A tree uprooted by Superstorm Sandy leans against a house at 6938 Lincoln Way West (U.S. 30) in St. Thomas, Pa. on Tuesday.
Photo by Roxann Miller

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — As Superstorm Sandy left the Tri-State area Tuesday, emergency services officials in Franklin County, Pa., are turning their attention to streams and creeks that have reached flood stage.

The Conococheague Creek had flooded east of Philadelphia Avenue in Chambersburg, according to Dave Donohue, director of Franklin County Department of Emergency Services.

“It’s still over its banks in Greene Township,” he said at 3 p.m.

“Borough waterways now appear to be reaching capacity, and the potential for flooding is very high,” Chambersburg Borough Manager Jeffrey Stonehill said, saying police and highway personnel will be monitoring the situation for possible evacuations.

Donohue said Pennsylvania State Police asked for “high water” warning signs for Loop Road in Marion, where children were playing the water. He warned two inches of flowing water can move a car and the water is not clean.

“We don’t want anyone getting swept away,” he said.

“The creeks will continue to rise, even though the brunt of the storm with respect to rain and wind has passed,” Franklin County Commissioners Chairman David Keller said.

The Conococheague Creek has reached flood stage at the Loudon Street Bridge and Dump Road Bridge, Stonehill said.

As of 6 a.m. Wednesday, 3,519 West Penn Power customers in Franklin County remained without power, according to the company's website.

Snow could be seen in mountainous portions of the county Tuesday morning.

Donohue said the Greencastle and Waynesboro areas received more than eight inches of rain.

County officials continued to maintain shelters at Greencastle Grace Brethren Church on North Washington Street, Salem Unity Brethren Church on Letterkenny Road in Chambersburg, the Chambersburg Recreation Center and Blue Ridge Fire and Rescue Squad on Monterey Lane in Blue Ridge Summit.

Donohue said Greene Township leaders are deciding whether to continue evacuation orders for Lincoln Dell and Mickey’s Inn mobile home parks.

About 10 houses in the county sustained heavy damage and were uninhabitable, Donohue said. Another 20 to 50 sustained moderate damage, he said.

Peters Township had a number of fallen trees, while communities east of Interstate 81 had more water and less wind, according to Donohue.

No storm-related injuries or deaths were reported in the first 240 incidents recorded by the 911 center, he said.

Both Waynesboro and Chambersburg hospitals have power and are adequately staffed, according to Summit Health spokeswoman Karlee Brown.

“The staff are so dedicated to making sure we provide uninterrupted care to our inpatients,” she said.

Paramedics, emergency medical technicians and ambulances associated with an eight-county task force are headed to New Jersey to assist communities there, Donohue said.

The St. Thomas emergency coordinator shared stories of neighbors helping neighbors, Donohue said.

“People with chain saws were coming out, forming up and teaming up with emergency responders,” he said.

Keller said the commissioners ratified a state of emergency declaration to make the county and municipalities able to receive certain types of aid.

It will be a few weeks before the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and insurance companies report dollar figures for the amount of damage, Donohue said.

“We don’t want people to get hurt in the process of cleaning up,” Keller said.


Road closures

According to Franklin County Emergency Services, the following roads were closed as of 6 a.m. Friday:

Greene Township
• Mount Pleasant Road between Brookens Road and Cook Road 
• Woodstock Road between Shadle Road and Cook Road

Guilford Township
• Loop Rd near Franklin County Career and Technology Center

Hamilton Township
• Leafmore Road at the bridge

Lurgan Township
• Burnt Mill Road
• Park Rd

Montgomery Township
• Shimpstown Road between Fort Loudon Road and Blairs Valley Road

Quincy Township
• Cemetery Rd

St. Thomas Township
• Loudon Road at Edenville end, pole down

Washington Township
• Welty Road between Anthony Highway and Amsterdam Road

Southampton Township
• Hickory Run Road
• Mongul Road between Roxbury Road and Orrstown Road

Borough of Chambersburg
• Norland Avenue between Fifth Street and Scotland Avenue
• Loudon Street at Dump Road, bridge is at flood stages

Hamilton Township
• Social Island Road at the bridge is flooded

The Herald-Mail Articles