Flooding streams lead to massive destruction
MUNCY – Another path of destruction ravaged local streets, as the remnants of hurricane Lee merged with a westerly front and created a narrow band of raging waters running north to south along the Susquehanna River, and remained there for several days.
By Wednesday afternoon, September 7, torrential downpours of nearly two inches an hour kept coming with such force that the local streams could no longer hold the waters within their banks.
Not since hurricane Agnes hit in June 1972, have residents recalled such destruction. Bridges were destroyed, roads up-heaved and driveways demolished within 42 counties in Central Pennsylvania by the swift moving waters.
Residents lost power, phone service and many had to be evacuated from their homes in Hughesville, Picture Rocks and Muncy. Emergency shelters were set up at Myers Elementary School, Hughesville High School, the Pennsdale Fire Company and Ferrell Elementary School in Picture Rocks. Fourteen families stayed at Myers that Wednesday night and 75 people were stranded in Hughesville and spent the night at the high school. Several hundred households had water in their basements for the first time.
Chief Sutton in Muncy stated that power was lost at 1 a.m. Thursday morning and it was restored around 1:30 in Muncy. In the meantime Muncy was using emergency generators. Most of the damage in Muncy occurred at North Market and North Main Streets and Mechanic Street. “The waters were expected to crest at 7 p.m. Thursday night but fortunately they started receding fast,” Sutton said. “The waters came in very fast starting at 5 a.m.,” said Chief Sutton. “North Market Street was the worse, cresting at 32 feet.” Muncy Creek was one of the worst that flooded spreading havoc over its banks and affected all of East Lycoming County.
Employees at the Muncy Valley Hospital were able to move things to higher ground from the basement and CEO Christine Ballard said that fortunately there was no flooding, just no power. “We have been running on emergency power,” she said on Thursday morning. Two emergency generators were sent from Susquehanna Health in Williamsport. “We have enough fuel for the next 3 days,” she added. “We made the decision to put our Shelter and Place plan into effect. We have enough supplies and medications to get past the projected emergency,” assured Ballard. Although many employees had trouble getting into work, the hospital was fortunate to have enough volunteers pitch in to insure the safety of the patients and residents.
However, other areas were still without power throughout the weekend. PPL reported that 4,850 homes lost power just in Muncy Creek Township due to the storm. By Monday morning all power was restored in the tri-town area. Power was restored in Muncy Borough around 2:45 p.m. Thursday. Clarkstown Road remained without power until Friday night as a transformer was down in the water.