Endeavor News Reports on Flooding

High water hammers parts of Potter, Cameron counties

The Endeavor News

Two days of torrential downpours delivered more water than the valleys of Potter and Cameron counties could hold and by early morning Wednesday normally small streams were raging rivers that breached their banks and flooded hundreds of low-lying areas.

Emergency Management Coordinators from both counties Thursday night said that while there were areas that got hit hard, the damage could have been much worse if not for a couple of factors.

“I know it created a difficult situation for PennDOT, but the rain turning to snow helped the flooding situation,” said Cameron County’s Kevin Johnson. “If that snow had been another couple inches of rain, we would have been facing a far more serious situation.”

Glenn Dunn from Potter County concurred, adding “We’re lucky, too, that the ground wasn’t frozen, so at least some of the water was able to soak in, rather than just running off.”

Despite those positives, though, parts of each county endured the highest flood waters since the flood of 1972 and many private bridges, culverts, sluices, driveways and properties were damaged or destroyed.

In Cameron County, Rich Valley, Sinnemahoning and Castel Garden were the hardest hit. In Potter County, Roulette, Shinglehouse, Millport, Costello and Wharton suffered the greatest toll.

In some of those areas, people had to be rescued from their homes by boat or large trucks.

Heavier, localized rainstorms were responsible for the pockets in the county that were hardest hit, Dunn said.

Despite the damage in those areas, neither county will likely qualify for state or federal flood aid.

Homeowners whose property has sustained damage that’s not covered by insurance are asked to contact their municipality to file a report.

If enough damage is reported and confirmed, there may be help available.

“From a county perspective, we dodged a bullet,” Johnson said. “But, there are some individual property owners out there who really got hit hard.”

Dunn agreed, adding that “we dodged a bullet, but there were a few BBs that we had to deal with.”

It was the second flooding event this year in the area. A thaw at the end of January resulted in high waters that caused damage.

“Probably the worst part about this is that some of the same areas where repairs were made after that flood were destroyed again this time,” Dunn said.

In both counties, emergency personnel worked late into the night Wednesday and even into the early hours of Thursday, doing everything from controlling traffic to helping residents pump water from basements.

“The volunteers logged thousands of man-hours,” Johnson said. “You just can’t give them enough credit. Their only ‘pay’ is the satisfaction they get from helping others.”

Dunn echoed those sentiments.

“PennDOT and the first responders took control and ensured that a bad situation didn’t get any worse,” Dunn said. “And I also credit the people of Potter County for their toughness and their ability to endure (these kinds of events), pick themselves up and carry on.”

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