A State of Emergency was declared for Hawley Borough Sunday afternoon, June 30, after torrential rains turned Route 6 by the park into a lake and topped some basements almost to the rafters.
Borough residents or business owners who sustained damage are invited to contact the Borough at (570)226-9545. A meeting with affected property owners will be arranged with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) to file for potential reimbursement.
Scott Mead, Hawley Fire Chief, reported Hawley received 4.67 inches of rain in about three hours.
He stood at the gravel-strewn intersection of Maple and Church, as crews from Hawley and neighboring fire companies pumped out basements in the background. The American Red Cross was giving out sandwiches to the emergency response volunteers. Neighbors milled about, watching the rushing stream course down the hill, some snapping pictures with their cell phones.
"This is the worst I've seen," said Spike (last name not given). "I've been in Hawley 16 years." Spike was volunteering with a shovel to clear out drains. He was working on the side of Route 6 in front of the Sunoco, the water up almost to his knees.
Fire Police stopped traffic from heading into Hawley on Route 6, both at White Mills and at the 590/6 intersection near Lake Region IGA. Unusually heavy traffic headed down Ridge Avenue instead into town, where a couple areas had bad runoff.
A Sam's Club tractor trailer somehow missed the Ridge Avenue intersection at Prospect Street. The rig went into a front lawn where the cab partly sank in the saturated ground. Traffic on Ridge was ground to a halt.
The hill section of Prospect was badly damaged and the road closed off; so was the hill section of Chestnut where the pavement was broken up.
The old canal basin in Bingham Park - the north end ball field- was partly filled with water again, where playground equipment rose from the pooling.
Vehicles managed to splash through Main Avenue Route 6 in front of the park where the middle of the road was the least submerged. Planters in front of Sunoco poked through the lake scene; Hawley IGA's parking lot appeared more fit for boats to anchor.
Chief Mead said that the Fire Department evacuated one person from a house at Settler's Village, along the river below Hudson Street. A small sink hole had opened up beneath the residence.
Water arced in the air on Church Street as fire department hoses emptied residents' cellars. One man said that a couple of the homes just below Maple Avenue had water within 15 inches of the first floor rafters. Phil Mania said his father's house just above Maple had about four feet of water and had six sump pumps working.
Page 2 of 2 - The Queen of Peace Rectory had a foot of water, said Mike, the church's maintenance manager. New Covenant Fellowship Church's carpeting was partly soaked.
Mead said that the Middle Creek and Lackawaxen kept within their banks. Tubes at the Riverside Park flood plain dike worked properly and the ball field at the old Hawley Glass Company location filled with water. The trouble came from the intensity of the rain in a short time and drains becoming overwhelmed, he said.
Forest Volunteer Fire Department and White Mills Fire Department were assisting in Hawley. Ledgedale Dive Team was on standby at the Hawley Fire Station for a while.
On Monday, Bellemonte Avenue Route 6 was down to one lane, to fix the road.
Wayne County Emergency Management Agency was on scene. Mead said that the Emergency Declaration enables the Borough to seek monetary assistance to recoup expenses.
Mayor Kevin Hawk on Monday said that they were still assessing the damages and financial impact. Remimbursement will be sought from PEMA for the Borough as well as eligible property owners.
He said it was just great how the fire companies, borough workers and council, as well as residents pitched in to help.
"It was a terrible situation but everyone jumped in and helped," he said, stressing, "We had a lot of water."
Meanwhile the carnival is still on for July 2-6 in Bingham Park. Although the park had a lot of water they were still able to set up equipment. Showers were forecast for the week.