Floodwaters recede, but roads damaged around York County

The effects of several days of rain still lingered in York County on Thursday, the first dry day in the area for nearly a week. 

Fritzi Schreffler, spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, said Thursday, July 26, that about 50 roads were closed from flooding in the central Pennsylvania region.

More than a dozen of those roads were in York County, according to 511pa.com, PennDOT's public information website. 

A lane on the Philadelphia Street Bridge was closed after a retaining wall collapsed below it along the Codorus Creek Thursday, July 26, 2018. Bill Kalina photo

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Damage to roads: One of those roads was Route 616 in Shrewsbury Township. Shrewsbury Volunteer Fire Chief Tony Myers said Thursday afternoon that people were moving the barriers blocking them from driving through the road.

The chief said the road is no longer flooded, but the inflow of water from the rainfall was something the road's culvert couldn't handle. The road is now collapsing, he said.

“Don’t drive past road closed signs — you’re just putting yourself in danger,” he said. 

Myers said the road could be closed for two weeks or more. 

In York City, officials closed a section of the Philadelphia Street bridge. The city said in a news release that a retaining wall collapsed after the rain and flooding. 

Mayor Michael Helfrich said in a Facebook Live video that rainwater caused the damage.

“For the foreseeable future, the left lane of the Philadelphia Street bridge will be closed,” he said in the video.

The south lane and south pedestrian sidewalk of  the bridge were closed, the release said.

York City Assistant Fire Chief Chad Deardorff, left, works with firefighters to secure barricades closing a lane on the Philadelphia Street Bridge after a retaining wall collapsed below the bridge along the Codorus Creek on Thursday, July 26, 2018. Bill Kalina photo

Southwestern Regional Police said in a news release Thursday morning that some roads in their coverage area were affected by the rain. The department said Porters Road on the Heidelberg Township and North Codorus Township border sustained substantial damage. 

The damage was caused by swift-running water from the Codorus Creek, which undercut the roadway. Police said a driver drove his vehicle in the washed-out area, and his car dropped about 5 feet. 

Police say the road was closed at that point, but someone had moved the signs off it. 

Additionally, water runoff washed away the road surface and base support near a culvert in the 1300 block of Moulstown Road North, the department said. Police say the road, along with Porters Road, will be closed for an extended period of time.

A large sinkhole formed along Route 30, Thursday, July 26, 2018. Contractors on the scene said it was caused by the heavy rain. West bound traffic is being diverted into the center lane while repairs are made. John A. Pavoncello photo

Sinkhole: A sinkhole opened up near Route 30 in Jackson Township, according to Northern York County Regional Police Lt. Gregg Anderson. He said the sinkhole opened on the property of Morningstar Markets, but it isn't affecting the roadway. 

He said the sinkhole is far enough away from the roadway that the traffic can flow normally.

"Everything should be fine," he said. 

York County spokesman Mark Walters said the York County Office of Emergency Management has a Google document for people to report storm damage. The document can be found here.

Schreffler, the PennDOT spokeswoman, said officials are assessing damage done to the roads. She said Thursday morning that in many areas they were still waiting for water to recede.

Rainfall: Rob Radzanowski, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in State College, said Thursday morning that the weather service received reports of rainfall between 7½ and 10 inches throughout the area.

"It was pretty widespread," he said.

The weather service said in a public information statement Thursday afternoon that officials had recorded 10.27 inches of rain between Saturday, July 21, and Wednesday at the York Airport outside of Thomasville.

Radzanowski said the Susquehanna River was just above "minor flooding," and they expect it to rise less than a foot before settling down.

“Pretty much everything else looks like it's falling right now,” he said.

A flood warning was issued for York County by the weather service into Thursday night. 

“A lot of the local problems are just going to gradually recede today," Radzanowski said.

The next few days are expected to be nicer, except for some potential thunderstorms Friday, July 27. Radzanowski said rain could then return early next week.

"We're not looking at a major event at this point, (but) we could see some tropical-type showers return back to the area," he said.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.