Thaw, heavy rains cause flooding
Eagle Staff Writers
Written by:
January 13, 2018
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The entrance to Marburger Field in Callery is submerged in water Friday. Flooding closed two major roads and caused property damage.

A rapid thaw and hours of rain made for a busy Friday for first responders in the southwest portion of Butler County.

In Callery, flooding closed two major roads and caused property damage.

Kline Avenue near Railroad Street was closed in both directions, as water poured across the road and engulfed homes and machinery. While flooding in the borough is a fairly normal occurrence, Kline Avenue being under water is not, according to Callery Police Chief David Watts.

“That doesn't typically flood,” he said. “When that one does, you know its bad.”

At the opposite end of Railroad Street, Center Street and Breakneck Street were under water, as were portions of Marburger Field. Watts said his day began at 4 a.m., with crews monitoring roads and watching weather reports.

“Typically when I come down here, its starting to get bad, but (Friday morning) it was already bad,” he said.

Roads were closed soon after, and remained closed late Friday morning, though Watts said the water appeared to be receding.

“This is all a flash flood area, so as soon as it goes up, it can go down just as quick,” he said.

Residents on Center Street were seen shoveling debris off the road just after 10 a.m. as the water receded. Watts said that area of the borough is in the floodplain and floods often.

“The people here seem to be used to it,” he said.

Though there was property damage in the borough, Watts said no injuries were reported, and no water rescues were necessary.

In Cranberry, parts of Graham Park are under water after Brush Creek overflowed its banks Friday morning.

The Brush Creek Trail was swallowed by the flooded creek, as well as the fishing pond and parts of some soccer fields. A parking lot near the fishing pond was blocked off to visitors as parts of it were also under water.

Jerry Andree, township manager, said the park was built in a flood zone and is designed to handle flooding on the trails near the creek.

“It is expected to occur on heavy rain events,” he said.

Elsewhere, Hartman Road in Jackson Township was closed Friday afternoon due to high water, as were various roads in and around Zelienople and Harmony. Harmony resident Mark Hollerman's back yard was not spared, with his shed taking the brunt of it.

“You just look and you watch and when you think you have problems, you gotta start moving things,” he said. “I moved my lawn tractor and a rotor tiller early (Friday) morning. They may have been in the water now.”

The school day was also impacted, with some districts canceling and others dismissing early. Linda Andreassi, communications director for the Seneca Valley School District, said delays were expected for students' evening commute.

“We estimate that 50 students will be impacted when their bus stops are not accessible due to flooding,” she said. “These stops are in northern communities of the district, including Jackson, Lancaster and Forward townships. We will do all we can to meet parents as close to the stop as possible or, if needed, make arrangements for the child to be picked up at the school.”

J.W. Johnson is the Cranberry Eagle Bureau Chief