Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Great Flood Of Sept. 8-9, 2011 - Lower Susquehanna River and Home

Hello Folks,

A lot has happened over the past week here in Central Pennsylvania. The remnants of Hurricane Lee moved slowly up the Eastern Seaboard and stalled outside of Washington D.C. At the same time, there was a NW front moving across the state. These two met up and reeked havoc on the creeks, streams, major tributaries, and the Susquehanna River Basin. Record flood levels were recorded on the North Branch of the Susquehanna River. As the water moved south into the main stem, the levels pushed but did not surpass the levels marked by Hurricane Agnes back in 1972.

With the help of my good friends, Jeff and Penny, I have some excellent pics and videos of the Holtwood Dam located on the Lower Susquehanna River. I also have video and pics of my own from here on the home front. There is a construction site behind my hoe that was totally unprepared for what we endured. A muddy flow came out of their site and into the neighbors' yard. Our in ground pool was flooded with muddy water and our next door neighbors basement was flooded.

We have been in touch with our home owner's insurance company, the local township, and the developer. The insurance company will be out next week to inspect our pool and view the damage. Damage that you'll see in this blog entry.

This past summer, Jeff and Penny visited the Holtwood Dam on the York County side and took this beauty video. This is a typical day of water flowing over the dam.

This is what the same area looked like on Sept, 9, 2011. Listen to the power of the water spilling over the dam. It is simply amazing...






I am always surprised how many people fail to respect the power of water. We have had at least six deaths related to flooding in the Susquehanna River Valley. One was the death of an 8 yr. old boy who was playing in the backyard of a friend's home. He was swept off his feet and into a vortex created at a drain. Several men responded quickly and removed the young boy, but not before he lost his life... What a tragedy!

It makes our home problem seem like peanuts in comparison. However, we had some damage that was created by the huge construction site that is directly behind our home. They definitely were not prepared to protect our properties from damage caused by such a monumental rain event.

After a few days of the initial start up, the excavating company placed stone near the roadway entrance that is two doors away from our home. This allowed their large equipment to enter the property without eroding the soil. However, when the rains came, many of these stones along with a torrent of mud came washing down from the excavated farm field and met up with the rain already flowing down the street.

The muddy water was then pushed back into our neighbor's yards and around the back of our homes. We have a swale outback to catch runoff water, but the flow was too great and the swale was breached by the muddy water and the muddy water flowed into our in ground pool... Dang!

We've had this pool for six seasons and never once had muddy water breach the swale and enter our pool. I place full responsibility on the developer and the excavation company for not preparing to protect our properties.

We will wait to hear what the home owner's insurance rep tells us this coming week. IF we have to empty the pool, it will run close to $1,000 to refill the 25,000 gallon pool. Not only that, but we will need to stabilize the water before closing it for the winter. That will include costs of chemicals to do so.

We were scheduled to have the pool closed by Anthony and Sylvan this coming Thursday. That date, of course, has been postponed until we decide the best course of action.



Here is a video that I made when I was a bit upset... I felt useless with this bum knee of mine to help around the home.

The day before the big waters came, Julie and I took a drive to "Fisherman's Park" which is located beside the Holtwood Dam on the Lancaster County side of the river. The river had been rising most of the week due to the many rain storms and showers we were experiencing, but nothing as bad as what we eventually got was ever expected!

The "Fisherman's Park" is no doubt under water as I write this blog entry.

Please remember that many, many folks who lost their homes, campers, and vehicles when this flood hit Pennsylvania. My oldest son had both his and his wife's car submerged in the parking lot of their apartment complex. I suspect that the drain system was clogged and the maintenance crew for the apartment complex failed to respond to help the residents. They got a knock on their door around 8:30 pm warning them of the water issue. By then, the water was waist deep in the parking lot!

To top things off at our home, we lost our electricity at 8:30 pm the night of the flooding and it was restored by 9:00 am. the next morning. Luckily, our basement wasn't flooded like our neighbors. What compounded their problem was that they had no power to run any pumps to extract the water from their basement... a double whammy.

If you have a neighbor who needs help, please reach out and lend a hand in times of need. We are all in this together and many hands make little work.

Take Care and Be Safe!