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September 7, 2011

More flood gates opening at Conowingo

Rising water on the Susquehanna River is forcing the owners of the Conowingo hydroelectric dam to open more floodgates, raising the risks of flooding downstream in the town of Port Deposit. Twelve gates were reported to be open Wednesday morning.

Conowingo in floodExelon spokesman Bob Judge said the company is considering opening between 18-20 gates between now and Friday, based on the high level crest predictions.

The spill hotline, at 1-877-457-2525, said as many as 30 gates could be opened during this event.

At 14 gates, Rte. 222 into Port Deposit would be closed between the town and the dam because of spot flooding. At 18 gates, residents on west and north sides of Main Street will experience flooding in basements. At 21 gates, back yards will flood and at 25 gates residents face decisions on whether move out under an optional evacuation.

Judge said Exelon has notified the town. The river is forecast to crest around 6 a.m. Friday. 

(SUN PHOTO: Conowingo flood gates open in September 2004 during runoff from Tropical Storm Ivan. Karl Merton Ferron)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 1:38 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Flooding


Where can I find some dam bait?

Frank I think lightning struck a chimney down the street from my house. There's half a chimney on the front lawn!

I'll get some pics if it lets up raining before the sun goes down.

Bryan's comment reminds of when I moved from the MidWest to the East Coast.

For a few days, I looked at the buildings, and kept thinking "something's missing". The first stroke of lightening made me realize that the missing thing was lightening rods - there are almost none here, but in the MidWest, EVERY building (home, school, municipal building, church, banks, other buildings) have at least one, if not multiple lightening rods. And they are especially predominant on the chimneys of buildings, as the chimney is usually the highest point on a building (especially houses).

Officials at the Conowingo Dam expect to have nearly every crest gate on the dam open on Friday as nearby Port Deposit begins an evacuation.
"We do expect to go to 50 sometime Friday," said Bob Judge, spokesman for Exelon, parent company of the dam.
There are 53 crest gates on the hydroelectric facility, which carries the Susquehanna River through the structure helping turbines inside generate electricity.
On Wednesday, officials expected to open 18 gates today and as many as 30 by noon Friday. However Judge said the situation changed overnight.
"The river is flowing a lot faster than anyone anticipated and it hasn't stopped raining," Judge told the Cecil Whig Thursday morning.
Port Deposit Mayor Wayne Tome said some residents are heeding the warning from town and emergency officials to get out of town in advance of what he said could be a record breaking flood event.
"We've lost one car already because someone didn't move it quick enough," Tome said Thursday morning. "It was a nice Mercedes."
As of 9 a.m. 27 of the 53 crest gates on the Conowingo Dam were open and up to 30 could be by day's end, Tome said.
"With the rain in upstate Pennsylvania and New York it could very well be the worst flooding ever," Tome said.
Benchmark floods in Port Deposit are 1996 when ice jams brought the Susquehanna River into town, and 1972 when Hurricane Agnes inundated the waterfront town.
If rain continues to fall along the river north of Port Deposit Tome said there is the possibility this flood could be even worse.
Perryville High School will be opened at 4 p.m. as a shelter for residents, Tome said
When 43 gates open, the command center, now located in Port Deposit's town hall, will move to Water Witch Fire Company's station on Tome Highway and the town would be closed to all traffic. No one would be allowed into town until emergency personnel decide it's safe to return.

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff

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