COUDERSPORT — Residents across northern Pennsylvania awoke Friday morning to flooded streams, exacerbated by melting snow pack and ice jams.
Towns and villages, many of which lie along rivers and streams, across Potter County reported flooding of streams and even some residential areas, with some schools closing early to ensure buses could get students back home safely.
While Galeton recorded only slightly more than an inch of rain, warmer temperatures melted several inches of snow pack, overfilling already swollen streams. Ice jams formed, cutting off typical water-drainage routes and filling up parking lots, streets and other low-lying areas. Ice sheets of nearly a foot thick could be seen, damming up areas and redirecting raging rivers through areas that typically remain dry even during a flood.
Reports indicate that the post office, public library, and Acorn Market in Galeton closed, the Galeton Area School District shut down at noon, and other businesses and agencies in town were keeping an eye on conditions to see if they needed to be closed to ensure employee and resident safety.
Police and emergency responders were assisting Galeton residents, some of whom were under a voluntary evacuation order, including in the River Street area. Evacuees were being sent to St. Bibiana’s Catholic Church.
Schools in Oswayo Valley also dismissed early Friday due to the impending weather, with temperatures expected to drop, resulting in ice and snow. The Oswayo Valley Library also shuttered its facility for both Friday and Saturday in anticipation of poor weather conditions.
Most counties in northcentral Pennsylvania were under flood watches or winter storm warnings as of Friday afternoon, and were expected to remain so through at least today.
Potter County Emergency Management Coordinator Glenn D. Dunn posted a number of updates online, as did Galeton Borough, Roulette Township, and Genesee-area officials. An online mapping system is available for emergency responders to post incidents and closures, with residents able to view where emergency situations are occurring.
Residents in flood-prone areas should have an emergency bag packed that includes needed supplies, medication, personal information and other necessities.