Saucon Valley Walloped by Irene
As of Sunday evening flood waters have subsided and winds have diminished, but thousands of PPL customers in Lower Saucon remain without power.
UPDATE, 7pm, Aug. 28: The direct effects of Hurricane Irene have for the most part subsided in the Saucon Valley, although as of 7pm thousands of Lower Saucon PPL customers remain without electricity. Significant flooding occurred earlier along many of the major waterways in Hellertown and Lower Saucon, including the Saucon Creek, the Silver Creek and the Black River. However, as of Sunday evening damage from flooding appears to have been limited in scope. Many basements took on water as a result of the storm, and some buildings in the 600 block of Main Street, Hellertown, suffered flood damage. Gusty winds have diminished, but saturated ground and tree limbs mean isolated power outages could still occur.
The storm isn't even over yet, but it appears Hurricane Irene has already dealt a devastating blow to parts of the Saucon Valley, with serious flash flooding occurring throughout both Hellertown and Lower Saucon.
Reader-submitted photos depict flooding along Main Street at Polk Valley Road and along West Walnut Street and throughout Grist Mill Park in Hellertown, with roads closed to traffic. And according to a Patch follower, WFMZ-TV Channel 69 has reported that a state of emergency has been declared in the borough, although this has not yet been confirmed.
An earlier report indicated that traffic exiting I-78 at Hellertown was not being permitted to enter the borough via Route 412 south.
A photo taken by Patch freelance photographer Richard Hafner Sunday morning showed the first floor of the Wagner Grist Mill on West Walnut Street--a historic building maintained by the Hellertown Historical Society--submerged by at least several feet of water. And a photo posted by Patch friend Dottie Susko Guy on Hellertown Patch's Facebook page showed flood waters from Polk Valley Run and/or the Saucon Creek spread across the Shoppes at Hellertown Parking lot, and surround both Bank of America and the Hellertown Diner.
Additionally, a portion of Meadows Road in Lower Saucon Township was shown to be under water near the Meadows Road Bridge over the Saucon Creek. Another photo, submitted by Upper Patch Editor Elizabeth Rich, showed a downed tree and power lines blocking a section of Fire Lane in the township. And a section of Black River Road between Bingen Road and Route 378 has been closed due to flooding, according to PennDOT's Engineering District 5.
Earlier this morning, reports indicated that fire department volunteers had been called to pump out numerous basements along Main Street in Hellertown.
Please continue to post comments to this story and upload photos to let your community know how you've fared during the storm.
However, Patch urges all readers to remain safe and avoid unnecessary travel as the flooding and aftereffects of Hurricane Irene continue to be felt.
A Flash Flood Warning issued by the National Weather Service remains in effect for Northampton County through 1:45pm Sunday, with the weather service stating that additional rainfall amounts of less than one inch are possible in the warned area.
"(The) latest reports indicate that many locations have received 6 to 8 inches of rainfall since yesterday," the weather service said in a statement accompanying the warning. "Runoff from this extreme rainfall will continue throughout the day today with widespread flooding of small creeks and streams. Many roadways are closed and impassable. This is a very serious flood situation."