Creeks burst as heavy rains flood county roadways
Periods of heavy rainfall Friday morning and afternoon caused flash flooding, fast-moving creek water and flooded fields and basements throughout south-central Centre County.
The State College, Bellefonte and Milesburg areas were under a flood warning until 3:45 p.m., and the county as a whole was under a flash flood/flood watch until 10 p.m. Friday, according to the National Weather Service. A small stream flood advisory was in effect until 6:46 p.m., as water levels continued to rise after nearly two weeks of rain.
Between midnight and about 4 p.m. Friday, NWS meteorologist Craig Evanego said there had been 3.8 inches of rain in Pleasant Gap.
A flood warning was issued for Bald Eagle Creek near the Beech Creek station, and for Spring Creek and all creeks and streams that feed into it.
Creek levels at Bald Eagle Creek got up to 11.37 feet, .37 feet above flood stage, causing minor flooding at Bald Eagle State Park, Howard, Milesburg, Julian and Unionville. Old Route 220 was shut down between Unionville and Julian for at least several hours for water on the road. The flooding caused at least one fender bender.
People in Milesburg spent the afternoon pumping water out of their basements, as water rose over the creek beds and pooled into backyards and fields.
The State College and Bellefonte areas also experienced flash flooding as Spring Creek rose to 7.76 feet, which the NWS said was its third-highest level since 1990.
The water caused minor flooding in Spring Creek Park and had Puddintown Road shutdown near the Millbrook March Nature Center throughout the morning and early afternoon.
East College Avenue was down to one lane each way for more than an hour at the 1100 block in front of Your Building Center, where the parking lot was flooded and water was spilling out onto the roadway. State College police reported at about 12:15 p.m. that the road was fully reopened.
College Township workers said the road was completely covered in water at 7 a.m., and it was possible, as the rain continued into the afternoon, that it could flood again.
People flocked to Talleyrand Park in Bellefonte to take pictures and videos as Spring Creek swelled, spilling over into the park, making the south side of the park inaccessible.
At about 1 p.m., the state Department of Transportation shut down state Route 144 (Axemann Road) between Irish Hollow Road and Forge Road. According to Spring Township police, the roadway had sinkholes and water overflow.
State College police tweeted that there was flooding on Fox Hollow Road at Big Hollow Road, and traffic was down to a single lane.
According to the NWS, it’s never safe to drive or walk into flood waters. It takes six inches of fast-moving flood water to knock down an adult, and 12 inches of rushing water will carry away a small car.
Other areas that experienced flash flooding included Park Forest Village, Boalsburg, Pleasant Gap, Lemont, Zion, Houserville, Pine Grove Mills, Ramblewood, Blanchard, Whipple Dam State Park, Rock Springs, Howard, Beech Creek, Unionville, Penn State and the Pennsylvania Military Museum.
Although creek levels started to recede by late afternoon, Centre County residents are not yet in the clear. AccuWeather is forecasting the rain to pick up again from 7-11 p.m., followed by three dry days in a row. After that, the Weather Channel has at least a 30 percent chance of rain, every day from Tuesday until Aug. 17.
Jeremy Hartley, Phoebe Sheehan and Bret Pallotto contributed to this story.