Swatara Creek flooding forces people to evacuate homes, businesses

SWATARA TWP., Pa. (WHTM) - The rising water in the Swatara Creek has forced people to evacuate their homes and businesses in Swatara Township.

People in 40 homes on Joyce Lane were already asked to leave. 

"We just moved in," said Felix Rosas of Swatara Township. "I wasn't aware that this place was a flood zone."

Rosas says he and his daughters might have to evacuate their home.

"I sealed the back door, so hopefully no water gets inside my house," said Rosas. "The next door neighbor...she left."

Water has taken over some yards, rising above plants, fences and mailboxes.

"I don't want the vehicles to get damaged by the water," said Rosas.

The Swatara Creek in this area leaves the banks on a regular basis," said Tom Connolly, the president of the Swatara Township Board of Directors.

Tree branches and water from the Swatara Creek are flowing across Bridge Road. The creek is usually 2 feet high, but with all the rain, it's risen up to 17 feet.

"The last time that it was at this height was in September of 2011, and it reached 26 feet," said Connolly.

First responders are on the lookout for flash flooding.

"We had a situation the other night where we had five locations at the same time, where we had vehicles that were stuck in the water that were occupied vehicles, and we had to rescue occupants," said Connolly.

The American Red Cross has set up shelters at Donegal Intermediate School in Marietta and at Hershey High School.

"We're using their main gym right now and they have other rooms," said Paul Levan, the shelter manager at Hershey. "It's a safe environment for people to sleep, and we're providing them with meals and snacks."

"Stay inside and wait it out," said Connolly. "Eventually this is going to crest and go down."

Connolly says if you are in the area and need somewhere to stay, call the Swatara Township Management Center.

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