Unexpected record rainfall rolled in on Saturday, September 9th between 7:00 and 8:00 PM in Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Wyoming counties causing major flooding never seen in the hardest-hit areas. Water rushed down the mountain wiping out roads, flooding vehicles, houses, and bridges.
Accuweather called the storms "Training Thunderstorms." This occurs when storms sit over an area and dump large amounts of rain. The intensity was unexpected and unfortunately devasted some areas.
PennDOT crews were deployed immediately and began scoping and cleaning up throughout the three counties affected.
While clean-up was taking place, residents offered food and beverages to the crews in appreciation for all their hard work. Local residents could not be happier with the crews' efforts.
Secretary of Transportation, Mike Carroll joined Jonathan Eboli, P.E., PennDOT Engineering District 4 Assistant District Executive of Maintenance overnight on Saturday into Sunday visiting each site and lending a helping hand when necessary, showing the great leadership PennDOT is lucky to have.
On Monday morning, a press conference was held at the District Office where the Secretary, PEMA, EMS, and elected officials gathered to receive updates, share stories, and collaborate on how they can help all affected.
Sadly, there were 2 fatalities because of the flooding on Shady Lane Road in South Abington Township, and there were four injuries when a bridge succumbed to the rushing water on a bridge in Newton Township.
To add insult to injury a PennDOT employee was accosted and hit by a motorist who ignored the road closed signs, proceeded up Newton Road, and then fled the scene. Luckily, co-workers tracked down the assailant, and the man was arrested immediately after the incident and has been charged.
District 4 crews worked diligently throughout the next 2 weeks to open roads ahead of schedule, document damage, and begin pursuing funding for the unexpected monumental expenses associated with the "Training Thunderstorms" that pummeled District 4.
"I am thankful for the dedication of all PennDOT employees and our contractors. This rain event inundated our drainage systems and caused significant damage to many roadways and bridges," said Jonathan Eboli, P.E., PennDOT Engineering District 4 Assistant District Executive of Maintenance. "Our crews remained committed to repairing the damage quickly and opening roads with safety as the priority."
"This event truly shows the awesome and destructive power that flood waters can have on an area after a heavy rain event," said Richard N. Roman, P.E., PennDOT Engineering District 4 District Executive. "This was devastating to many people and families and will take a long time to recover. I am proud of the work and response from our District and County staff."