Ice Jams Cause Flooding Along Luzerne County Creek

AVOCA  — Chunks of ice clogged up Mill Creek in Avoca Tuesday morning, forcing the water to flow over the flood walls near York Avenue.

Cars and basements were underwater.

Neighbors had one thought when they woke up and saw it all.

“Here we go again,” Paul Bartush said.

Fire officials said one woman had to be evacuated from her home. All other nearby homes were vacant and utilities there were shut off to prevent and electrical problems.

The owner of Litzy’s Lounge said her basement was completely flooded. Her restaurant won’t be open for weeks.

“I feel sorry for my neighbors that live on the other side,” Ron Warunek said. “A couple times it flooded and only on the other side and I just hope they can get it opened up so they don't get more water damage down there.”

Emergency crews used pumps to bring down flooding in the parking lot of Litzy’s Lounge.

Crews were out all day to look over the situation and try to resolve some of the problems.

“It's going to be a busy day. After the creek is mitigated we're going to have to get into the residences out here and start pumping their basements out,” Avoca Assistant Fire Chief Jim Butler said.

To remove some of the pressure brought on by the ice jam, emergency crews are actually using some heavy equipment to dig some of the ice out of the creek.

“The big thing is getting that water flowing. Once we get a good flow it could move some of the ice too,” Avoca EMA Coordinator Kevin O’Brien said.

Avoca Fire Department posted video on its Facebook page showing a wall of water rushing back upstream shortly after the ice jam had been broken up.

Borough officials said they are working on a plan to prevent flood problems like this in the future.

“Over here we have a wall that I don't think is quite high enough, the bridge here is an impediment, so there's a lot of things I think have to be looked at but I don't see any quick fixes,” Council President John Boone said.

York Avenue will be shut down for the majority of the day while crews work to fix these flooding problems.

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