Dauphin County Commissioners warn residents to stay away from flooded creeks and roads
HARRISBURG, PA (July 24, 2018, 11:15 a.m.) – Heavy rain continues to fall throughout Dauphin County, causing numerous road and bridge closures and property damage. County Commissioners Jeff Haste, Mike Pries and George P. Hartwick, III urge residents to stay away from flooded roads and creeks for their safety.
Dauphin County remains in a flash flood warning through Wednesday, July 25, as an additional 2 to 3 inches of rain is expected, according to the National Weather Service. So far, the county has received between 5 to 10 inches of rain since Sunday, depending on the location.
“Conditions continue to deteriorate,” said Pries, who has oversight of the county’s Public Safety Department and Emergency Management Agency, “and with more rain on the way, and the soil already saturated, the next 48 hours are critical. “Attempting to drive or walk through rushing water can have deadly consequences. It’s not worth the risk.”
Overnight, crews began searching for a 19-year-old woman who went missing last night along the swollen Conewago Creek in south-east Dauphin County. The search is resuming today.
Last evening, Elizabethville in northern Dauphin received 4 inches of rain, causing damage to road surfaces (see attached photos of Bunker Hill Road in Halifax Township).
In the south-eastern part of the county, flooding along the Swatara Creek has caused the temporary closure of the county-owned Duke Street Bridge, at the intersection of North Duke Street and South Hoernerstown Road in Hummelstown. High water and debris along the Swatara Creek prompted the commissioners to close the bridge on Monday evening (see attached photo of the Duke Street Bridge).
The Swatara Creek near Hershey is expected to crest on Wednesday morning at 15.7 ft., just above major flood stage.
According to the NWS, the Swatara Creek at Middletown is predicted to crest on Thursday morning at 18.7 ft., reaching major flood stage.
“Floods are the most common natural disaster in Pennsylvania and kill nearly 100 people every year,” said Hartwick. “If you come across a flooded road, turn around and don’t drown. Be extra cautious at night, when it is harder to see possible flood dangers.”
The commissioners and the county’s Public Safety Department continue to monitor the level of the Susquehanna River, which, according to the NWS, will hit action stage Wednesday morning and crest at 18.4 ft. on Thursday night.
The commissioners encourage residents to keep in mind these safety tips during a flood:
- Listen to a weather radio for current and forecasted conditions in your area.
- If flooding begins in your area, go to higher ground immediately.
- When driving, always be aware that the road bed under flood waters may be severely damaged. NEVER drive through flooded roadways. Remember that it takes only two feet of water to carry away a vehicle, including pickups and SUVs.
- When walking, do not attempt to cross flowing streams. Remember that it takes only six inches of rushing water to knock an adult off his feet.
- If your vehicle stalls, get out immediately and go to higher ground.
- These four words could save your life: TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN.
Please visit www.DauphinCounty.org for safety tips, emergency kit checklists and family plan templates.