Numerous homes were evacuated around the Meyersdale, and a major bridge near Johnstown was closed as well on Sunday as waterways across the region swelled because of the weekend rain thus leading to Monday Flooding in Meyersdale.
Several area schools, including Ligonier Valley, Rockwood and Somerset Area, issued notices that they were operating on two-hour delays on Monday.
The Casselman River’s level through Meyersdale rose from a height of 7 feet on Sunday morning to 13 feet, 4 inches at 6 p.m. the same day, Somerset County 911 Supervisor Alan Baumgardner said.
To the north, a flood-prone portion of Bens Creek also spilled its banks near the Toll Gate Inn, closing Route 403 at the bridge.
The overflow sent a pool of water through the restaurant lot and turned the adjacent Benscreek Shopping Plaza’s parking lot into a lake.
Several minor roads were closed, and there were many reports of flooded basements across Cambria and Somerset counties.
“There is lots of water everywhere,” Baumgardner said. “PennDOT is out everywhere putting up barriers.”
In Meyersdale, an emergency command center remained active late Sunday in the Meyerdale Volunteer Fire Department headquarters, 222 Main St.
“We are here until the situation eases,” Kevin Broadwater, Meyersdale emergency management coordinator, said at the fire hall.
About 20 homes in the Summit Township village of Romania were being evacuated Sunday evening because the river was cutting off access to the community, Broadwater said.
Several more homes were evacuated in the Mount Davis Road and Cuba Street areas near the Casselman River and Flaugherty Creek, Broadwater said.
Surrounded by the highest mountain slopes in the state, Meyersdale is familiar with flooding, Broadwater said, adding that Sunday’s high water mark was already unusually high by late afternoon.
“It is probably higher than most people have ever seen it,” he said.
Pam Hartle has lived in Meyersdale 32 years, and her home has been flooded three times.
This was the first time since a flood control levee was constructed along the Casselman, she said.
“The flood control structure is doing its job,” Broadwater said, noting the river is not responsible for all the high water in town.
Because there is flooding nearly every year at least once, Meyersdale area emergency responders are prepared as the waters rise.
“We are well versed at knowing which is the next street that is going to flood,” he said.
In Cambria County, there were reports of a mudslide on Norton Road just outside Johnstown’s West End.
A Cambria County 911 supervisor said a section of D Street and Laurel Avenue was being shut down due to flooding from St. Clair Run near the railroad overpass – but as of 7 p.m., it was the only known roadway in the county closed due to storm-related issues, he said.
On Vine Street in downtown Johnstown, as much as 6 inches of water were flowing through the basement of the Salvation Army Worship and Service Center – in some areas running through hallways like a creek.
John Brand, a Salvation Army captain who helps run the facility, said stormwater started rising from floor drains at 11 a.m. Sunday – and hadn’t quit by 8 p.m.
Two pumps were working nonstop in the basement, “but it’s not enough,” he said.
Brand said he feared $60,000 in equipment could be lost due to the flooding.
The center serves free, hot meals during weekdays to those who need them. Brand vowed the storm wouldn’t stop them from doing that Monday, although he planned to serve dinner upstairs in a gym area instead.
“We’re doing all we can,” he said.
Cambria County 911 officials added that most of the issues across the county were reports of trees or branches downed by the wind or rain, and flooded basements.
High water also forced the closure of Route 56 outside of Seward, Westmoreland County.