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York County officials: Call 2-1-1 for help cleaning up from storm
Muddy Creek in southeastern York County overflows during a flash flood on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. Bil Bowden, York Dispatch
Following Friday's punishing storm, York County officials are directing residents to contact PA-211 to help arrange crisis cleanup services and reminding them to use an online tool to report damages.
As of Sunday, according to county spokesman Mark Walters, officials knew of at least 22 local roads that were destroyed — and at least another 22 that were damaged — during the downpour that brought 5 to 10 inches of rain to parts of Lancaster, York and Lebanon counties Friday afternoon.
At least a dozen structures were damaged, and some were completely destroyed, he noted, adding officials anticipate that number will grow as cleanup continues.
The hardest-hit areas in York County are Hellam, Chanceford, Lower Chanceford, Hopewell, East Hopewell and Fawn townships, according to Walters.
Reporting tool: The county issued a call just last week for people to use an online tool to report damage from storms that hit the area between July 21-27 and Aug. 1-15, saying it would forward the information to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, which would then request a federal disaster declaration.
That was before the recent storm.
"Since we were slammed Friday, there is an even greater need for us to get residents’ damages filed so we can report it to PEMA," Walters wrote in an email Sunday, Sept. 2.
That tool is available here or by going to the county's website: https://yorkcountypa.gov.
The county is also asking residents to sign up for emergency alerts from South Central Task Force at www.sctfpa.org/sc-alert.php.
Cleanup help: Walters stated the county is working with PA-211 — "a statewide collaborative for health and human service information for Pennsylvanians" — to help residents clean up after the storm.
Residents who need help simply dial 2-1-1 "to get this critical assistance," according to the county spokesman.
Also, residents with private wells can get well-testing kits at the York County Office of Emergency Management by calling 717-840-2990, Walters said.
State aid: Gov. Tom Wolf said state emergency officials are working with local authorities.
The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency “will work with local municipalities to develop damage assessments and address unmet needs,” the governor said.
PEMA said Lancaster and York counties had issued disaster declarations, and Wolf said the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is deploying road construction crews, engineers and inspectors to assist local municipalities.
'No warning': The sudden deluge led to evacuations in Lancaster, York, Berks and Chester counties, though no injuries were reported, according to an emergency management agency spokeswoman.
LNP newspaper reported that Lancaster County emergency officials received numerous calls for stranded motorists, including a school bus stuck in Mount Joy and a vehicle swept into a creek.
“It was a lot of rushing water really quick,” Danielle Krodel, of Elizabethtown, who had to turn back because of flooding on Route 283, told LNP. “There was no warning whatsoever.”
Charlene Campbell, trapped by flooded roads in her own York County restaurant, The Accomac, said she had never seen anything like it.
“Horror, it’s just horror,” Campbell told WHTM-TV. “Not only to mention the loss of business, but it’s just scary to see what the force of water can do.”
An eastbound Amtrak train that left Harrisburg was stranded for 6½ hours because of flooding in Mount Joy, where forecasters said almost 11 inches of rain was reported.
Amtrak Keystone Service and Pennsylvanian trains operated on a modified schedule Friday and Saturday because of the weather-related issues but said all scheduled service resumed Sunday. Keystone Service trains operate daily between New York and Harrisburg, and Pennsylvania trains operate daily between New York and Pittsburgh.
Comcast said on Monday, Sept. 3, that it was opening its Wi-Fi hotspots to the public in York and Lancaster counties to help those affected by the flooding and emergency responders. Those hotspots will remain open until 11:59 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7.
To find a map of the Xfinity hotspots, go to wifi.xfinity.com. To log in at a hotspot, select the xfinitywifi network. Comcast customers can use their username and password to log in. Noncustomers can log in through the "not an Xfinity customer" section, and they will be able to repeatedly renew their two-hour sessions when they expire, Comcast said.