Water, water ...
everywhere BY BRIAN WALLACE, and RYAN ROBINSON, Staff Writers
The temperature in Lancaster County dipped to a bone-chilling 9 degrees early Sunday.
Two days later, it soared to a spring-like 61.
On Wednesday, the skies opened up, dumping up to 3 inches of rain on parts of the county, flooding basements, roads and bridges.
Then heavy winds kicked up Thursday morning, downing trees and branches and cutting power to hundreds of residents as the mercury began a steady decline.
The recent roller-coaster weather pattern makes you wonder what the heck Mother Nature has in store for us in the coming days.
According to John Feerick, it will be more like what folks expect this time of year -- high temperatures in the 30s and lows in the high teens to low 20s. "It looks like we're back to normal winter weather," said Feerick, senior meteorologist with Accuweather.com.
The winds that whipped the county Thursday were expected to subside somewhat, but today should continue to be blustery, with gusts of up to 30 mph, Feerick said. Today's forecast also calls for a possible dusting of snow in the morning and some sun later in the day, with a high of 34 and a low of 15.
Saturday should be less windy, with a high of 32 and a low near 20. Morning sunshine is likely to give way to clouds. Snow showers are possible Sunday, with light accumulations expected. The high should hit 37, with a low of 18, Feerick said.
Feerick said a significant warm spell isn't likely before Feb. 9, when temperatures may nudge into the 50s for a few days.
The rapidly changing weather conditions of the past few days wreaked havoc on Lancaster County on Thursday, flooding roads, stranding motorists and leaving hundreds without power. Winds gusting to nearly 45 mph Thursday morning brought down tree branches on power lines, cutting electricity to 759 customers in Paradise Township, according to PPL.
Minor outages were reported during the day in Manor, Colerain and Lancaster townships, said PPL, which reported that power was restored to all customers by 3 p.m. Thursday.
The rainstorm that moved through the region Wednesday night also caused problems.
In Earl Township, a woman drove into a few feet of water on Route 322 around 5 a.m. Thursday and had to be rescued, according to Martindale firefighters. The incident occurred in the 1600 block of Division Highway.
Another water rescue occurred a short time later near the Conestoga River in the 100 block of Cider Mill Road in West Earl Township.
A motorist drove into water that was "2½ feet deep and coming up pretty fast," said Earl Good, chief of Farmersville Fire Company.
A third rescue occurred in the 200 block of Monterey Road in Upper Leacock Township, also at about 5 a.m. Thursday, East Lampeter Township police reported. Nathan E. Martin, 28, of Ephrata, drove his car into high water before the road was closed due to flooding.
Also Thursday, firefighters were called to several homes with flooded basements, and a handful of county roads and bridges were temporarily closed.
By mid-day, most creeks in the county had begun to recede, with the exception of Pequea Creek, which was expected to begin receding by Thursday night.
Most roads closed by flooding had reopened by 4 p.m, according to emergency management officials.
Flood warnings remained in effect Thursday night for residents living near the Conestoga and Susquehanna rivers. According to the National Weather Service, the Conestoga at Lancaster city was expected to crest overnight at moderate flood stage of 13 feet before receding.
The agency reported the Susquehanna River at Marietta was well below flood stage Thursday afternoon but was expected to continue rising, cresting at 47 feet -- 2 feet below minor flood stage -- Saturday afternoon.
Due to delays caused by rain and wind, the inspection of the Route 372 Norman Wood Bridge will continue into today with single-lane traffic restriction and flaggers assisting motorists through the work zone from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.