Various States, NC, PA, NY, CT, VA, RI, NJ, MA Hurricane DIANE, Aug 1955
TORRENTIAL RAINS POUND COUNTY AREA, CAUSE WORST FLOODS IN RECENT YEARS.
SURPRISE HURRICANE BACKWASH INUNDATES SEVERAL COMMUNITIES.
Caught by surprise by the backwash of ex-Hurricane DIANE, Delaware County was pounded last night by torrential rains that caused the most disastrous flooding in recent years.
Emergency crews worked throughout the night evacuating families from their threatened homes, restoring power lines and rerouting traffic off flooded highways as driving rains fell into the morning.
Damage was estimated in the thousands of dollars as the storm-punished county, still recovering from the winds and rains of Hurricane CONNIE, reeled under floods.
Rain-swollen streams choked with debris swept through the county, flooding factories, inundating low-lying areas and threatened life.
Although no fatalities were reported, three motorists narrowly escaped death as they struggled from their cars which were carried into raging creeks.
Red Alert Flashed.
The flooding resulted in the flashing of the first red emergency alert for Civil Denfense units.
CD units aided police, firemen, utility crews and volunteer workers as flooding followed the myriad of cloudbursts that pummeled the county at varous times.
The heaviest rainfall came between 8 p.m. and midnight, trapping some motorists in their cars and marooning persons in homes and offices.
The driving rains -- raking the county just seven days after CONNIE'S gale-sized storms -- caused a shutdown of the Media Water Works, Ridley Creek and Baltimore pike, for six hours.
In Darby Township, the 81st St. and Avenue B area was evacuated when already swollen Darby Creek smashed through and over the earthen dikes that were breached last week.
Newtown Bridge Out.
In Newtown Square, a bridge was reported washed out while another bridge on Bishop road in Addingham was under water. The Yale avenue bridge in Swarthmore was closed to traffic.
The weather bureau, admitting the storms came "as a very great surprise," had forecast scattered showers for the area. Meteorologists said today that DIANE began to diffuse in a series of squally sections as she moved through the north.
Rainfall was recorded at 2.39 inches for the 24-hour period. Weather bureau records show rainfall at 9.19 inches for the month. The normal rainfall up to today is 2.81 inches.
Record rainfall for the month is 12.1, recorded in 1911.
Sunny skies followed the passing of clouds this morning. The mercury was expected to rise to 88 today and 93 tomorrow with humidity readings forecase as comfortable.
Warm And Muggy.
The weather was warm and muggy when rain started yesterday in a slow drizzle shortly before 6 p.m. Before long, squalls began to break over the county.
The red alert for CD units was not flashed until 11:18 p.m. when the seriousness of the situation, was apparent. JOHN V. McELDUFF, county CD director, said some municipalities were unable to assist others, because of emergency conditions in their own communites.
At 3:15 a.m. today, the emergency alert was lifted.
As the rain thundered on, industries along creeks became flooded. The creeks, extra high from upstate waters of last weekend's rains, crested abnormally.
Plants reporting flooding included KENT Manufacturing Co., Clifton Heights; JAMES IRVING & Son, Inc., Chester; ALDON Rug Mills, Inc., LENNI Mills, SORENSON Industires, Colwyn; BALDWIN - LIMA - HAMILTON Corp., Eddystone; Swarthmore Paper Products, Springfield.
The Media Waterworks emergency threatened the water supply of about 20,000 customers. GUS D. HOUTMAN, borough council president, ordered all customers to boil water.
From 8 p.m. until 2 a.m. the waterworks was shut down. At 8:30 a.m. today, consumers were advised their water supply was safe.
In Darby Township, the evacuation of homes in the Darby Creek section began about 11:30 p.m. The evacuation took three hours and more than 70 persons were taken to shelters.
The creek poked holes in the dikes and overflowed them. Water was up to some first floor windows. The Southeastern Cparter, American Red Cross, set up emergency quarters in an elementary school on Buist avenue, Philadelphia.
In Darby, the area near Darby Creek, was under four feet of water. CD units aided police and firemen in removing residents.
At least 50 persons on Chestnut street between 12th and 14th were evacuated.
On MacDade boulevard, water pushed a new car through the showroom window of J. HARRY SWOPE Inc. on nearby Springfield road, the entrance to the Darby bus terminal was blocked. Buses used an exit on Chester pike to enter the terminal.
In Colwyn, 14 employes of SORENSEN Industries, 3rd and Ellis, were trapped by flood waters from Darby Creek. A rescue squad from Norwood removed them at 4:30 a.m.
Major power interruptions were in the Painters Crossroads and Darby areas. Some 900 homes were affected in Painters Crossroads and about 1,500 in Darby.
Two Philadelphia Transportation Co. routes were detoured and six Southern Pennsylvania Bus Co. lines were affected.
All four trolley divisions of Red Arrow suffered major interuptions.
NINE DEATHS REPORTED IN EASTERN PA.
650 YOUNGSTERS MAROONED; RAIN REACHES 9 INCHES.
Philadelphia (AP) -- Rain-swollen rivers rampaged through eastern Pennsylania today, causing at least nine deaths and isolating towns and cities. The threat was still increasing in some communities.
The swiftly rising waters marooned 650 youngsters on two island camps in the Delaware River about 10 miles north of Philadelphia. They virtually cut off Scranton and smaller communities from passage, and brought a major flood warning at Bethlehem.
Another 310 persons were stranded in two Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad trains in the Pocono Mountains between Cresco and Tobyhanna. The railroad said the 2nd Army had promised helicopters would try to remove the passengers.
9 Inches Of Rain.
In addition to the known deaths, other persons were unaccounted for.
Rains totaled more than 9 inches in one sector.
While Pennsylvania was hardest hit by what was left by Hurricane DIANE, there were floods throughout a wide area of the northeast United States.
Southeastern New York state, bordering on Pennsylvania, was inundated and children from a number of summer camps were evacuated to higher ground. Port Jervis, a city of 10,000, was put under a state of emergency by Mayor JAMES E. COLE as more than 7 inches of rain in 24 hours swelled the Delaware River.
Points along the Delaware River in northern New Jersey were also evacuated and other sectors had street and road flooding.
Trapped on Treasure Island in the Delaware River near Philadelphia were 400 Boy Scouts. Their leaders reported to state police that the river ws still 10 feet from a critical stage. The Weather Bureau said it was unlikely the river would rise that much. A little farther north, on Pennington Island, 200 youngsters attending a Presbyterian Church camp were in the same predicament.
Aid To Scranton.
As the rain continued to pour down in the northestern section of Pennsylvania, National Guard, civil defense, state police and Red Cross units were pressed into service and emergency health precautions were ordered.
Details were sent to Scranton, a city of 140,000 population, where rescue missions went on continally and more than 50 persons were stranded atop manugacturing plant rooftops by the Lackawanna River, which went nine feet above flood stage with the rains still pouring.
Bethlehem officials ordered Lehigh River areas evacuated as the river passed three feet over the 17-foot flood stage and was riging still toward an expected peak of 26 feet.
Tamaqua, a community of 12,000 in the east-central Pennsylvania hard coal mining area, reported that waters which coursed through its business district at a depth of five feet last night had receded.
Hardest hit points other than Scranton and Bethlehem in Pennsylvania were the tiny towns of Honesdale and Hawley in northeastern Pennsylvania.
A dam overflowed at Hawley and its waters rose so fast that it was first reported the dam had burst. Hawley and nearby Honesdale were cut off from the outside.
Hot Belt Extended.
Skies were clear and it was hot in areas outside the rainy and flood sections. However, thundershowers were reported from the northern Rockies southward to western Texas.
The hot belt extended in areas east of the Rockies into the Midwest, South, the Southwest desert region and the Western Plateau. Temperatures climbed to near 100 degrees yesterday in interior Washington, the northern Great Plains and into parts of the upper Great Lakes region. Readings in the 90s were forecast again today, as no general break in the new heat wave appeared.
The Red Cross said its emergency units were summoned to aid at a Boy Scout camp at Doylestown, about 30 miles north of Philadelphia. One worker said he was standing in water up to his armpits when he made the call, the Red Cross said. Further details were unavailable.
Maj. Gen. A. J. DREXEL BIDDLE, commander of Pennsylvania's National Buard units, now in training at Indiantown Gap, dispatched units to stricken eastern areas as calls for help arrived.
The reports of inundation and evacuation were similar to those which came earlier from Virginia, where the tempest caused untold crop damage, blocked main and secondary roads and caused the death of a man who slipped from a bridge into the Shenandoah River.
And in Connecticut, Gov. ABRAHAM RIBICOFF ordered units of the National Guard to Torrington where the Naugatuck River and its tributaries were swollen. Flash floods developed in the Connecticut River Valley from Montague City southward.
Massachusetts reported numerous highway floods and train derailments at Medford and Russell caused by loosened ground beds. Thirty persons suffered minor injuries in the Russell accident.
Skytop Lodge, a Pocono resort alerted its lodgers to be ready to move out by boat. Every major artery in the Pocono area was closed as were main roads from northeast Pennsylvania to southern points.
From throughout that area came reports of bridges out, roads under several feet of water, power lines out.
Telephone communication was cut off for hours at a time to the northeast, giving rise to rumors of some disasters that later proved unfounded.
The greatest deluge was at Hazleton, where 9.35 inches of rain fell in 21 hours. The city, located on high land, reported only minor flooding.
In Philadelphia where the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers rose swiftly, low-lying areas were covered. An overflowing stream cut loose a number of propane gas tanks from their moorings. All but a few were quickly recovered. Police barricaded the area and were forbidden to transmit from their car radios less a spark create an explosion.
HELICOPTER AIRLIFT RESCUES CAMPERS IN NEW YORK FLOOD.
SOME AREAS MANY FEET UNDER WATER.
Port Jervis, N.Y. (AP) -- Helicopter airlifts were pressed into service today to rescue campers and summer resort patrons marooned by floods which swirled over a wide area of southeastern New York.
Torrential rain and overflowing streams left many communities under several feet of water.
A helicopter from Stewart Air Force Base at Newburg, N.Y., began evacuating children from Jubilee Ranch, a summer camp at Godeffroy, N. Y., near this flooded railroad center.
Seventy-five children were marooned when the flooding Neversink River made an island of the campsite.
The helicopter took the children to high ground where a truck was waiting. The rescuers found the children mostly in good condition, although some suffered slightly from exposure.
The airlift started at 7:20 a.m., after two motor-powered boats seeking to reach the camp were swamped.
A Coast Guard helicopter also arrived, but was sent on the Sparrowbush, N. Y., to airlift 300 patrons stranded at the Eddy Farm, a summer resort.
Stewart AFB and West Point each sent an amphibious "duck" to the Port Jervis area.
Children were evacuated to higher ground from a number of summer camps. Some children were marooned in others, and boats were sent to their rescue.
Many roads were impassible, bridges were washed out and phone service was disrupted in places.
Mayor JAMES E. COLE declared a state of emergency in this city of 10,000 population at 2 a.m. Civil defense forces were ordered out.
Housed In Churches.
A rainfall of 7.07 inches here in 24 hours was reported.
Residents of the lower part of the city fronting the Delaware River were moved to higher ground. Churches were opened to house them.
Across the Delaware, many residents of the lower section of Matamoras, Pa., were evacuted and took shelter in the Heater Hills back of the community.
Streets were flooded in Port Jervis, a railroad center, when the Delaware overflowed at spots above the dikes protecting the center of the city. The Neversink River also overflowed in spots.
The Erie Railroad yards were under water, but the railroad said its trains were running through.
The Delaware and Neversink Rivers lie on opposite sides of the city and meet at a point called Tristate Rock. Both rivers were backing up into storm sewers, causing widespread floods in West End.
Worst Since 1903.
It was the worst flooding in the West End since 1903. The Delaware River dikes were built after the 1903 floods.
Heavy rain an overflowing streams flooded wide areas north of here through the resort counties of Sullivan and Ulster, up to the foothills of the Catskill Mountains.
Most main highways were closed and were washed out in sections. Rock slides choked off some routes.
Two automobiles were reported to have run into a swollen creek at Greenfield Park, Sullivan County. It was not known immediately whether any one drowned.
Many communities in Sullivan and Ulster were evacuated.
The Sullivan County civil defense forces were ordered out.
Among the Sullivan County communities whose residents were evacuated to higher ground were Mountaindale, Spring Glen and Bridgeville. Among those in Ulster were Accord, Wawarsing and Kerhonkson.
Dames were threatened at Swan Lake, Briscoe, Jeffersonville and Mountaindale.
Among flooded highway routes were 42, 52, 209, 17, 17B and 97.
Farther to the north, high waters were reported at Hancock and Cooks Falls, both in Delaware County.
The basement of the Port Jervis Union-Gazette was flooded, and $1,500 worth of newsprint was ruined.
The rain here started at 1 a.m. yesterday, measured 2 1/2 inches by 7 a.m., then let up, but started again at 4:30 p.m.
Boats were sent to aid householders and campers isolated in areas around the city.
Four children's camps in the Huguenot area were hard hit. Cejwin Famp, a large camp operated by the Central Jewish Institute, and Camp Jubilee were surrounded by water. Two camps run by the New York City YMCA, Camp Green Hill and Camp Talcott, were evacuated.
Chester Times Pennsylvania 1955-08-19
FLOOD TOLL REACHES 97 WITH 46 IN PENNA.; PROPERTY DAMAGE SET AT RECORD BILLIONS.
MANY COMMUNITIES BRACING FOR BLOW; DELAWARE RAMPAGES.
Flood waters roared down rain-filled rivers of the Northeastern states today, adding to heavy damage already inflicted by the area's severest flood in history. The loss was estimated in billions of dollars.
The death toll, which began to climb early yesterday, had reached at least 97 for the seven-state area. And the peak of the flood was still to come in some sections.
The known dead listed state by state were:
Pennsylvania 46; Connecticut 30; Massachusetts 11; New Jersey 5; New York 2; Virginia 2; Rhode Island 1.
From Stroudsburg, Pa., came reports that some 40 persons were missing from a private summer camp five miles away.
New reports of dams crumbling under the force of swollen streams added to the swelling total of property damage.
The collapse of the Rice City Dam in North Uxbridge, Mass., sent a five-foot wall of water charging down the Blackstone River toward Woonsocket, R. I. already devastated by earlier floods.
Delaware Goes Wild.
As the rising Delaware River swirled over its banks in Trenton, capital of New Jersey, five fire companies pumped water from the basement of the statehouse in an effort to forestall damage to the building and its valuable records.
At Seymour, Conn., flood victims watched the angry Naugatuck River undermine a cemetery, upending tombstones and digging out concrete vaults and coffins. Cemetery workers carried corpses from broken coffins.
WHile downstream communities built hasty sandbag dikes and evacuated low lying districts, strickin cities upstream reported with relief that the flood crest there had been passed.
Thousands were homeless and whole cities went without drinking water, electricity and gas. There was no news, good or bad for worried relatives outside some flood areas. Telephone circuits remaining in operation were reserved for emergency use.
The governors of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut declared a state of emergency.
Bridge after bridge was reported washed out. Dames burst and torrents of water tore mercilessly at buildings and anything else in the way. Hazardous rescueswere routine.
Troops and facilities in the 1st and 2nd Army areas were ordered to give all aid possible to flood-ravaged areas. Bailey bridges to provide temporary river crossing were being moved in from as far away as Marion, Ohio.
Helicopters fluttered overhead dropping supplies and rescuing people from roof tops and isolated scarps of high ground. The aircraft, a welcome sight to stranded flood victims, flew in from Army, Navy and Coast Guard stations.
Flood waters apparently hit hardest at Stroudsburg, Pa., with at least 20 counted dead, and Waterbury, Conn., where at least 15 persons were reported to have lost their lives.
The Naugatuck River roared through Waterbury, tearing out power lines and sweeping away buildings. It was "the worst disaster Waterbury has ever seen," said Fire Chief FRANCIS T. SCULLY.
Stroudsburg, a resort center in the Pocono Mountains, was left with all its bridges and main roads washed away. There was no drinking water or household gas for heating and cooking.
While Stroudsburg began the messy job of bailing out, cities further down the Delaware River system awaited the full fury of the torrent. At Easton, Pa., 40 feet of water broke a 53-year-old Delaware River flood record of 38.6 feet.
Further downstream lay Trenton, capital of New Jersey, reported already in "bad shape," with worse to come. Water swirled into the city's street and civil defense officials declared an emergency.
Beyond that was populous Philadelphis on one side of the river and Camden, N. J., on the other, both anxiously watching the oncoming mighty flood.
500 Families Chased.
In Rhode Island the rain-swollen Blackstone and Mill Rivers burst through Horseshoe Dam and poured into Woonsocket, flooding a densely populated tenement section of the city. Five hundred families were evacuated just before the churning water moved in.
At Pawtucket, further downstream, sandbag dikes were raised along the Blackstone's banks.
Hundreds of children at summer camps in southeastern New York were evacuated to high ground by helicopters and rescue boats.
Port Jervis, N. Y., a railroad center at the confluence of the Delaware and Neversink Rivers, was left with damage estimated at more than a million dollars after both rivers flooded the town.
Putnam, Conn., had both a fire and flood problem at one time. A magnesium plant caught fire during the day and burned late into the night. "The explosions have been terrible," reported Mayor JOHN DEMPSEY.
40 MISSING AT STATE CAMP SITE.
Stroudsburg, Pa. (AP) -- An extensive search was launched at dawn today for about 40 persons missing from a private summer camp five miles north of here that was completely covered by swirling flood waters.
There was no indication whether the adults and children in the camp were trapped when Broadheads Creek overflowed Thursday night or made if safely to shore.
State Police who reached the camp sight this morning reported "no sign of anything." The site was under water. All 14 buildings in the Camp -- known as Camp David -- were gone.
Police said the camp was run by a REV. LEON DAVID, a retired minister. His home town was listed as Manuet, N. J., although no such town could be located in New Jersey.
It was reported that all people in the camp were from Jersey City, Rutherford, West Paterson, and West Caldwell, N. J., and Staten Island, N.Y.
Many small camps in this Pocono Mountain resort area also were reported isolated, but state police said most were situated on high ground and there appeared no reason for concern about the safety of the occupants.
State police said they had no previous record of Camp David and no information concerning its operators, although it apparently was connected with some religious organization.
Chester Times Pennsylvania 1955-08-20