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little watermelon Saturday 01 July 2006

'The Flood of 2006'

The Falls Bridge over the Susquehanna River
Though there was considerable damage to the area involving hell of a lot more than soggy paper cups, it turned out that the Susquehanna River not only didn't go as high in 2004, but also did considerably less damage to 'the Cottage' than the flood in 2004. The highest crest coming in at 34.14ft.
At this time, the river is no longer at flood stage, and has now gone within its normal banks.

But, in what seems like habit at this point, I went to check out the damage and the water at 'the Cottage' in Falls on Thursday June 29th, the day after the crest.

Traffic was insane, it took me almost an hour to get from Throop to Falls because 81 North was blocked, and traffic through Green Ridge Street in Scranton was at a crawl. Everyone milling about after all the river excitement, I suppose.

damaged road to the cottage
After having seen the dirt road that leads to 'the Cottage' all flooded out on Tuesday evening, I figured I'd have to leave my car at the top of the hill and walk in.
I was right. The road was broken, the water that ran through there cut a big & rather deep canal right through the road. It also created a sort of gorged out area next to the road there, because the road was obviously damming up the water flow to a certain degree.
Despite having an entire nice sunny day, the rest of the dirt road was still muddy and full of puddles.

By the time I arrived, the flood waters had receded to just within the riverbank. Though the entire yard between the cottage and the river bank was mushy, and the sidewalks muddy. Inside the cottage, the cellar was still completely flooded, and there was mud in the kitchen at the front.
However, the water didn't make it into the entire living room. And overall it was far less horrible than the damage and mud that I found left behind after the 2004 flood, when I spent 2 hours dragging out sopping wet carpets 2 inches deep in mud.
There was some debris strewn about the yard.
I also watched a lot of whole trees that had been ripped up from their roots, floating down the river.

Buttermilk bridge in Falls
I took a photo of the little Buttermilk bridge in Falls, taken from the exact same spot & viewpoint as from Tuesday, and as is shown, the creek by Thursday was back to a more normal level.
When I was there on Tuesday, it looked like the water was about to come right over the bridge.
It didn't, but right nearby, a house slid right off the hill, and nearly into the street. I saw it first posted on the WNEP Channel 16 web site's slide show, and then I saw it for myself, and it looked even more bizarre in person.

So it looks like "The Flood of 2006" will take its place at the #5 spot of "Historical Crests", as reported by The National Weather Service, which of course means it was quite severe.

Susquehanna River in Falls
Historical Crests
01. 40.91 feet - 1972, 24 June
02. 35.06 feet - 1975, 27 September
03. 34.96 feet - 2004, 19 September
04. 34.45 feet - 1996, 20 January
05. 33.10 feet - 1865, 18 March
06. 33.07 feet - 1936, 20 March
07. 31.60 feet - 1946, 29 May
08. 31.50 feet - 1940, 01 April
09. 31.40 feet - 1902, 02 March
10. 31.02 feet - 1979, 07 March
I remember visiting the 'the Cottage' during the 1975 flood. And my father giving me stern warnings about the dangers of getting too close to the water's edge, which I did anyway, I'm afraid. Though the water wasn't really moving in the yard like it was out past the river bank.

The Falls Bridge
I also remember the 1979 flood, the water lapping up over the river bank into the yard at 'the Cottage'.

During the 1996 flood, me, my parrot Jacq, and my roommate Eve were evacuated from our apartment in downtown Wilkes-Barre near the River Commons. We spent the weekend at my sister Joanie's house in the Poconos. According to my father's records, the water was 6 inches deep in the living room at the cottage during that crest.

There was also a flood in March 1993, that was caused by the snow melt from Blizzard of 1993. I'd be interested to know what it crested at. It was definitely at flood stage, but I assume it was no higher than 28 feet, because though Kirby Park in Wilkes-Barre was under water, I was actually on the Black Diamond Bridge during the crest of that flood. (I don't recommend that sort of behaviour now, by the way.)

And speaking of Kirby Park in Wilkes-Barre, the annual Independence Day celebration scheduled for the 4th of July has been cancelled. I think I've only missed being at Kirby Park for Independence day twice in the past 15 years. (In 1992 I spent July 4th at Lake Wallenpaupack, and in 1997 I spent it in New York City.) So that's very disappointing as well.

posted by Chloe | Saturday 01 July 2006 8:11 PM



Times Leader Flood Slide Show
Posted by Chloe | Tuesday 04 July 2006 1:57PM


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