Flooding Prompts Evacuations in Part of Columbia County

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Pa. -- Officials in Columbia County are asking people in the west end of Bloomsburg to leave their homes as Fishing Creek has been rising quickly.

Firefighters and Bloomsburg police officers drove up and down streets in the west end of Bloomsburg telling people they have to leave their homes.

People threw clothing in duffel bags, grabbed their pets, and drove to higher ground. It only took a few minutes for Fishing Creek to rise over its banks and flood streets, making driving difficult for people in the west end of Bloomsburg.

Around 4:30 p.m., sirens went off, signaling the mandatory evacuations. Some people tell Newswatch 16 they've lived there their whole lives and have been through multiple floods.

"Roll with the punches," said John Long. "Get your stuff out and deal with it the best that you can."

There is a shuttle available at the Bloomsburg Airport for people who live in the west end of Bloomsburg and are part of the evacuation. The shuttle is for people who have nowhere to go and it is taking people to a shelter in Berwick.

The American Red Cross has set up a shelter at the Columbia-Montour Area Vocational Technical School. Animals are allowed as long as they are crated.

Some people in the Orangeville area are already leaving.

Water came through the Orangeville area of Columbia County fast and furious on Monday. Homes along Fishing Creek were cut off and some people had to be rescued.

"Quite nervous," said Ed Weatherill. "I guess everything is up here so as long as the house stays up here I guess we'll be OK."

This is the third time Ed Weatherill's house has flooded, but he tells Newswatch 16 this is the fastest it's happened.

"Oh, it came like two feet in 10 minutes. Most of it came from Benton, and it just steadily rose."

As fast as the water rose, roads closed.

"We're here to pick up day care kids this morning, and that's not going to happen, I don't think, for a while," Jim Powluf said.

Powluf's grandchildren are at a day care center in the Stillwater area. Since the roads are closed, he can't get to them.

"There's probably three, four feet of water. You don't want to attempt that at this time. And it's closed, all the other back roads are closed so we're kind of here just waiting it out."

Despite the roads being closed, some people still tried to flee the floodwaters, got stuck, and needed to be rescued.

Rescue crews from all over central Pennsylvania were called in, some by boat and some by air. Some folks tell Newswatch 16 all they can do is hope for the best.

"What are you going to do? It's up to the Good Lord. Good Lord willing and the creek don't rise," said Weatherill.

See the latest list of road closures here.

For latest weather forecast, click here.

Get real-time stream levels here.

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