SEE ALSO: Aid poured into York after Lee
It took nearly a year, but life at Mary Beth and Douglas Sloat's creekside Hellam Township home is nearly back to the way it was before part of their property was washed away during Tropical Storm Lee last year.
But the effects, both physical and mental, of the storm and ensuing flooding still remain for some who were in the midst of the deluge.
"My wife still gets scared every time it rains really hard," Douglas Sloat said. "She's afraid it could happen again."
One year ago this week, Tropical Storm Lee ripped through York County, causing flooding not seen since Hurricane Agnes in 1972.
Some people lost
But all have rebuilt their lives to some degree over the course of the past year.
Rain: By the time Tropical Storm Lee reached York County on Sept. 5, 2011, the area had already been through thunderstorms that dumped more than an inch of rain over two days.
The rain saturated the ground, exacerbating flooding caused by Lee, said Steve Wistar, AccuWeather senior forensic meteorologist.
All told, Lee dumped 9.53 inches of rain on York County, bringing the total for the week to 10.68.
"That's an incredible amount of rain in just six days," Wistar said.
All that rain caused the Susquehanna River to crest at 58.16 feet in Wrightsville, nearly 6 feet shy of Agnes' 64-foot high-water mark.
A number of creeks and streams in the county also saw sharp rises in water levels, causing extensive flooding.
Cleanup: A day after the storm began pounding the area, floodwaters from the nearby Kreutz Creek invaded Paul and Betty Brodbeck's home on South Broad Street in Hellam Township and left their backyard underwater.
The couple's basement was filled with
Creek water knocked the outer door to the furnace room off its hinges and destroyed a furnace, hot water heater and a washer.
As the water began to recede, the cleanup got under way.
"All you have to do is open the doors and it (the water) runs out," Paul Brodbeck said.
What remained was mud that was trucked out by the wheelbarrowful with the help of the Brodbecks' family.
Furniture and appliances lost in the flood and muck have been replaced, and life at the Brodbecks' has returned to normal once again.
"I know the furnace is taken care of forever. I have it mounted on the ceiling," Brodbeck said with a grin.
Community help: A few miles upstream from the Brodbecks, Kreutz Creek wreaked havoc, sending a surge of water across West Market Street in Hellam Township and flooding the basement of the Tourist Inn to the ceiling.
Seven hotel rooms on the 671 W. Market St. property were also flooded, causing long-term tenants to find another place to live for a few days, said Annette Fullerton-Thoman, owner of the inn.
But the community rallied around Fullerton-Thoman, and shortly after the storm passed, friends and employees began the arduous task of bring the bar back to life.
Between 20 and 30 people, some of whom stopped by the bar for a drink but ended up staying to help, worked each day to clean up the mess, she recalled.
"Just when we thought we took care of the mud, the (basement) ceiling started falling down," she said.
With no electricity to the building because water shorted out the electrical system, a number of churches and businesses brought food to the hungry workers.
Help from the community didn't stop there.
An anonymous person donated carpet, and a number of area residents attended a fundraiser in late September to benefit the Tourist Inn, which is known for hosting benefits to aid those in need.
The bar reopened for business a week and half after it was forced to close.
"The only reason that Tourist Inn is open ... is because of my family, my friends, my staff and the community," Fullerton-Thoman said after taking a minute to keep herself from becoming teary-eyed.
Erosion: Kreutz Creek caused a lot of hassle for a number of people who live around it.
Floodwaters surged down the creek, overflowing its banks and washing out part of Kreutz Creek Road and Mary Beth and Douglas Sloat's driveway.
Water that remained in the creek channel eroded a roughly 12-foot-deep section of the couple's property, causing part of their shed to hang over the normally slow-moving water.
Repairing the destruction took time.
In December, the Sloats had a stone wall that reaches to the top of the bank built. In July, dirt was dumped behind the wall, forming a garden that now has groundcover taking root.
A willow tree that rode out the flood on the creek bank still remains. Douglas Sloat said that if the tree handled Lee, it can handle anything.
Helpers: Bud and Mandy Moyer started out the storm and flooding as shelter managers for the York-Adams Chapter of the American Red Cross but ended up becoming shelter residents.
The Moyers called the shelter at Eastern York Middle School home for a few days after they couldn't get to their home on River Drive along the river in Hellam Township.
"We opened up the shelter and ended up staying in it," Bud Moyer said.
River Drive was more like a river than a road at the height of flooding with large portions of it underwater for days.
The Moyers' home was unscathed, but getting to it proved to be a problem. After staying at the shelter and a hotel for a few days, the Moyers opted to hike to their home through a wooded area but got lost, Bud Moyer said.
What was to be a 30-minute hike turned into three hours.
"We didn't know what was in store for us," he said.
Continuing help: A year since the flood, work is still being done to clean up some homes.
Todd Jackson, a missionary from York Township who heads Servants Inc.'s Home Helps ministry, said the nonprofit organization worked on 120 homes across the county, including those affected by Lee, last year.
Servants Inc. tallied roughly 11,000 volunteer hours in 2011. Volunteers, many from area churches, did everything from pumping water from basements even as rain continued to pour down to rebuilding affected living space after the storm.
From September to December, Jackson said, he barely got a breather as he fought to keep up with the demand to have homes repaired.
And the work isn't even finished.
Thirty homes are still waiting to have flood damage fixed, he said.
"It's still an ongoing process," Jackson said. "It was neat to see everyone come together and help their neighbors in need."
-- Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.