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9.7.11  On September 7, 2011, People woke up to Tropical Storm Lee, which produced Historic flooding. In fact, USGS reports that at the Harper Tavern on Swatara Creek crested higher than it did in Hurricane Agnes, which was 23.72’ (1972). Agnes was a 500-year recurrence-interval event in the area. The gauge got inundated during TS Lee, and USGS equipment got damaged. However, they retrieved a high water mark of 24.46 ft at the gauge on September 09, 2011. The flood of record for the station was June 01, 1889, which crested at 25.6 ft.

Swatara Creek at Harper Tavern

Elevation Certificate

BFE Determination

Listening to victims of the 2006 flood at FEMA’s Disaster Recovery Center at the Ono Fire Company, it became evident that some spirits were low to the point that certain individuals vowed not to move back into their homes.  Others felt “trapped” like no one would want to buy their home now that it sustained so much damage, and to others the flooding was “a way of life” to which they had become accustomed.

If you live in an area that floods and you lost personal belongings or had to replace drywall, a furnace, and/or carpeting, you may be asking what you can do.  Short of moving, have you considered elevation?

Information follows from our consultant, Tom Armenio at Delta Development.  You may personally find the
information useful or give it to a friend

  The property owner’s goal
would be to elevate the house at or above the base flood elevation (BFE).  A
local surveyor and/or engineer would need to calculate the BFE for the owner
and would likely need to complete the attached elevation certificate form in
the process for NFIP purposes.
  The USGS uses
instrumentation at various stream gauges to analyze flood-flow information.
 These instruments that read stream stage can indicate how high the stream
stage was during a particular storm, but cannot show how high water got in
the surrounding land and how much land will flood when a particular stream
or river overflows its banks.  Typically the USGS will go out and look for
high water marks (on trees, buildings, etc.) that occur during floods.  They
can then use this data, along with stream stage data to estimate how much
flooding will occur when a stream or river reaches a particular flow stage.
 The USGS keeps real-time stream gauge data on their website, but we’re not
sure if there is any high-water mark data available.  (I
know of several Agnes (1972) markings on buildings.  For example, Kettering
and Son’s at 16th and Cumberland Streets in Lebanon and the barn at Boat
House Road Park, Derry Township)
  Even so, this information
could probably only be used as a guide, in which case the person might have
to go the surveying route as discussed above. 

  We do have the Flood
Insurance Study for Lebanon County, but would need to know a specific street
address/physical location (not a RR) to see if a property is in the flood

If you decide to elevate your home or complete other structural changes, be sure to get a building permit.  However, according to Julie Cheney in County Planning, building permits are not necessary for non-structural repairs like replacing drywall, a furnace, and/or carpeting.

  September 7, 2011, Lebanon County Commissioners declared a disaster
emergency.  A 21.2′ crest is predicted.
  June 28, 2006, Lebanon County Commissioners declared a disaster emergency. 
The 18.28′ crest moves into an historical third place record height.

Historical Crests
(1) 25.60 ft on 1889/06/1
(2) 23.72 ft on 1972/06/23 (Agnes)
(3) 17.53 ft on 1933/08/24
(4) 17.36 ft on 2004/09/19
(5) 17.24 ft on 1975/09/27

Show More Historical Crests
Low Water Records
(1) -0.3 ft on 1981/10/ 1
(1) -0.3 ft on 1980/09/ 24
(1) -0.3 ft on 1966/09/ 4
(1) -0.3 ft on 1964/09/ 27
(5) -0.2 ft on 1987/08/ 19

18.0 Widespread flooding occurs with many roads…homes and
businesses affected.
16.0 Most homes adjacent to the creek are affected to some
degree. Numerous evacuations are necessary.
14.0 A number of homes along the creek are affected. Some
evacuations are necessary. (27 Roads closed on 9.7.11 at a height of 13.5′)
12.0 A number of secondary roads are closed…resulting in some
evacuations. A few homes are flooded.
10.0 High water isolates several houses.
9.0 Several driveways and other minor roadways are affected.
Water begins to enter some basements.