The Susquehanna River continues it's rampage. Flood warnings are in effect for both the North Branch and the West Branch of the river. In Bloomsburg... the river shot past the 32 – foot mark shortly after 4 this morning as it continued towards it's expected crest of 32.4 feet. That's two – tenths of a foot higher than what we experienced with tropical storm Agnes back in June of 1972.
Many folks in one section of Bloomsburg had a rude awakening this morning. Around 1:45... the sounds of sirens from police cars and fire apparatus pierced the night air... warning residents to evacuate. Their target area... west of Market... and south of 5th streets. The problem... a wayward ammonia tanks from Windsor Foods. That prompted the evacuation of residents in a one mile radius of the plant. Many the evacuees going with family and friends... or taken to shelters at the YMCA... the Bloomsburg Memorial School or the shelter at the Berwick High School.
The Town of Bloomsburg is operating under an emergency declaration put into effect earlier this week by Mayor Dan Knorr. During a visit to the WHLM Studio's on Thursday... Mayor Knorr says it's simply a way to cut through red tape... quickly. The declaration is in effect until it's no longer needed.
As predicted... the United Water system pipes supplying water to Bloomsburg and surrounding area's ran dry. The company pulling it's pumps from Fishing Creek earlier this week after filling their huge water tanks. The company's Bob Manbeck says he doesn't know when water will be flowing through United Water's system. And once the water is restored... Manbeck says a boil water advisory will be in effect.
President Obama has declared parts of Pennsylvania a disaster area... now that the Susquehanna River is cresting. The declaration covers 42 of the state's 67 counties... and that includes Columbia and Montour Counties... and neighboring areas such as Luzerne, Sullivan, Lycoming, Northumberland and Schuylkill Counties. Obama's action authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate all disaster relief efforts and provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures. The direct federal assistance, will be provided pay for 75% of what the counties spend leading up to... and the clean up after the flood.