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Flash Flood Cleanup Proves Costly for Susquehanna County Communities

CHOCONUT TOWNSHIP– Thursday night’s flash flood sent 4 feet of water through Don Zaleski’s home near Choconut Creek, stranding him, his wife, and their cats on the front stoop.

He says, “We were just standing here hoping for the best, if the house came down, we could jump off to the side or something, but there wasn’t much we could do.”

Two days later a different kind of flood swept in.

Friends and coworkers came to help from as far away as Sayre and Athens. They did everything from moving mud to picking the sod out of Don’s ATV.

Thursday’s flash floods also devastated a summer haven near Friendsville.

Boats that used to float on Timberline Lake ended up piled in a creek, and many docks simply floated away

In Forest Lake a trailer home was completely ruined, when a unnamed creek turned into a raging river.

On Saturday workers tried to rebuild its banks with the help of an excavator on loan from a pipeline company.

In Forest Lake Township alone, at least half a dozen roads are damaged.

Supervisor Marvin Small says,”I’ve got 48.22 miles of road and I probably have parts of five miles of road tore up.”

Small says he needs to get as many roads as possible fixed soon so the buses can get through when school starts Wednesday, however he expects at least one road will require a detour.

While the damage is bad, Small says it`s not sufficient to qualify for federal aid. He says gas drilling impact money budgeted for a new community center will instead pay for cleanup and repairs.

Small says, “It’s going to be a sad scenario, but that is the way it is going to be.”

For one volunteer there was some good news Saturday.

Newswatch 16 reporter Peggy Lee met George Miller Friday night as he was trying to help flood victims. At the time he said he was hoping to speak with a Forest Lake Township supervisor to ask for help with equipment.

Newswatch 16 was able to set up an introduction on Saturday.

While Small said he could not loan out municipal equipment he did make a phone call to someone who might be able to help.

Right before we left Valley Road, Mike Snyder from Somerset Regional Water Resources came by and offered to help Miller help the flood victims.

Miller says,”Very relieved, very relieved, I am absolutely thrilled, these guys are great, township supervisor, I have to credit him with making the initial phone call and getting the ball rolling for me, it really helps.”

On Friday night Newswatch 16 featured Roxann Williams, a woman who had her driveway washed away and can not afford to repair it.

Saturday Miller received a donation from Alisha’s Home Ministries to cover the cost of the materials needed for the repairs.

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