On Thursday, October 20th, over six inches of rain fell and flash flooding ensued. The flooding occurred in Lycoming, Sullivan, Bradford, Clinton, and Centre counties. According to PennDOT, three bridges need to be replaced as a result of the flood damage. In addition, 9 other bridges need extensive repairs. Twenty three bridges need scour repair and debris removed from them. PennDOT says that 144 out of 154 bridge inspections were already completed. The other ten inspections are scheduled for Monday, October 24th.
Some roads in Lycoming and Sullivan counties have been damaged as well. Parts of roads in Lycoming and Sullivan counties will stay closed until repairs are made. Parts of Slacks Run Road and Wallis Run Road in Lycoming County are closed, and a part of Route 87 in the Hillsgrove area of Sullivan County is closed. Sections of Elk Creeks Road and Hoppestown Road in Sullivan county are also closed. Some sections of roads in Centre County are closed as well.
PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards issued the followings statement, “During these trying times, it is of utmost importance to keep safety at the forefront… We will continue to keep those affected by the flooding aware of travel restrictions, road closures and their subsequent openings. We encourage patience as we work through this storm together.”
In response to the flood damage in north central Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf (D) visited the area on Sunday, October 23rd. Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) Director Richard D. Flinn Jr. and Acting Secretary of Environmental Protection Patrick McDonnell also visited the area.
Wolf issued the following statement after his visit, “Pennsylvania state agencies, local officials, and first responders worked quickly to ensure the safety and well-being residents and mitigate the effects of the storm… Director Flinn, Acting Secretary McDonnell, Secretary Richards, and I will continue to monitor this situation and ensure the counties have the support they need as clean-up continues.”
PEMA is working with Sullivan County to assess the flood damage. Flinn issued the following statement, “While the floodwaters have receded, we know that the recovery process has just begun… We will stay in touch with county personnel to ensure survivors have quick access to whatever support the Commonwealth can provide.”
Another issue resulting from the flooding is a gasoline leak. According to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Sunoco pipeline was capped at both ends. Sunoco is making sure there are no other leaks. Around 55,000 gallons of gasoline have been released. McDonnell issued the following statement, “DEP staff will continue to monitor water systems that could be affected by this spill… And looking forward, DEP will be working with the communities affected by these floods to rebuild bridges and culverts in the area.”
Samples that were taken from the Susquehanna River and Loyalsock Creek show that there are contaminants related to gasoline. However, just one sample from Loyalsock Creek close to where the break occurred was more than the Maximum Contaminant Level safe drinking water standard. More samples will be taken from the Susquehanna River in the Harrisburg region. Public water systems were told about the contaminants in the water.
The flood damage did not meet the requirements to get help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The initial damage estimates are expected to be known by Monday night.