Man killed as strong storms cause flood­ing across state

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS - By Mark Scolforo and Me­gan Trim­ble

WIL­LIAMSPORT >> Strong storms hit pock­ets of western and cen­tral Penn­syl­va­nia early Fri­day, bring­ing up to 7 inches of rain, turn­ing roads into rivers, dam­ag­ing homes in com­mu­ni­ties as far as 150 miles apart and killing one per­son.

Gov. Tom Wolf or­dered the state’s Na­tional Guard to help in the re­cov­ery ef­forts af­ter the storms left a path of de­struc­tion, down­ing power lines, de­stroy­ing ve­hi­cles, dam­ag­ing rail­road beds and trig­ger­ing mud­slides.

The (Lock Haven) Ex­press re­ported a man was killed Thurs­day night in Clin­ton County when a tree crashed down on his home.

Winds there had reached up to 100 mph, said Na­tional Weather Ser­vice me­te­o­rol­o­gist Craig Evanego.

Flash floods swept away at least two homes in Sul­li­van County, west of Scran­ton, ac­cord­ing to WNEPTV . Hun­dreds more were dam­aged in Cen­tre County, home to Penn State’s main cam­pus.

“It’s been quite a day,” said Cen­tre County Com­mis­sioner Steven Der­shem.

The storm brought some of the worst dam­age the Bald Ea­gle Val­ley of cen­tral Penn­syl­va­nia has seen since Hur­ri­cane Ivan brought down­pours to the area in 2004, Der­shem said. As of Fri­day morn­ing, about 100 peo­ple were dis­placed, in­clud­ing about three dozen res­i­dents from a per­sonal care home, he said.

John D. Yin­gling, di­rec­tor of Ly­coming County’s de­part­ment of pub­lic safety, had launched its nine boat teams to help res­i­dents and sur­vey the dam­age with area bridge inspections and road as­sess­ments.

Ly­coming County was among the hard­est hit, and storms there wiped out the Wal­lis Run Road bridge across the Loy­al­sock Creek in Moun­toursville, said PEMA spokes­woman Ruth Miller.

The flood­ing also caused a Sunoco Lo­gis­tics gaso­line pipe­line to rup­ture, spilling an es­ti­mated 54,600 gal­lons into a trib­u­tary of the Loy­al­sock Creek and threat­en­ing the wa­ter sup­ply of sev­eral thou­sand cus­tomers.

Penn­syl­va­nia Amer­i­can Wa­ter said its treat­ment plant along the Susque­hanna River in Mil­ton — down­stream of the spill — might be im­pacted, and asked cus­tomers to con­serve wa­ter in case the plant had to be shut down. Res­i­dents would be served by a sec­ond, un­af­fected treat­ment plant if the Mil­ton plant had to be taken off­line, the com­pany said.

“We’ve been mon­i­tor­ing, test­ing the source wa­ter all day. We haven’t seen an im­pact yet,” but the gaso­line plume could reach the plant overnight, said com­pany spokes­woman Su­san Tur­cmanovich.

Sunoco Lo­gis­tics said it de­tected a drop in pres­sure around 3 a.m. Fri­day and shut down the pipe­line. The com­pany said crews were us­ing skim­mers to re­move gaso­line from im­pacted wa­ter­ways — in­clud­ing Wal­lace Run and Loy­al­sock Creek — and erect­ing con­tain­ment booms down­stream.

The pipe­line re­mains un­der­wa­ter and the di­rect source of the leak is still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Sunoco Lo­gis­tics spokesman Jeff Shields said.

The dam­age led county com­mis­sion­ers to call on the Penn­syl­va­nia Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency for as­sis­tance.

The state ac­ti­vated part of its trans­porta­tion de­part­ment to mon­i­tor and in­spect state road­ways and sent wa­ter res­cue teams.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A man stands at the end of Lower Bodines Road, north of Trout Run, Pa., as it is closed by flood wa­ters Fri­day. The float­ing item at the far right is a hot tub. Freak storms pack­ing up to 100 mph winds hit Penn­syl­va­nia early Fri­day, send­ing flood­wa­ters into hun­dreds of homes and caus­ing a pipe­line rup­ture that dumped more than 50,000 gal­lons of gaso­line into a stream, threat­en­ing drink­ing wa­ter sup­plies.

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