For most of us here in Wellsboro, the event last week known as hurricane Lee was a day or so of heavy rain. We are apt to forget the number of communities that were affected by the ensuing flooding. Yet it was estimated that up to 100,000 people were affected by the storm. People were evacuated from places in Waverly, Sayre, Danville and Bloomsburg. Portions of Route 83 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike were closed. City Island, Harrisburg was under water. Our diocesan house was even affected—it is my understanding that there is presently a sink hole that poses a threat to the cellar wall at 101 Pine Street.
The reality is that Pennsylvania is highly prone to flooding. Tioga County is most certainly not immune. According to the information at the Pennsylvania State University site, during the years from 1950 to 2000 there were 39 flood events. Many of us, of course recall the times that 287 has been closed in the vicinity of Middlebury Center. Many of us recall the destruction of hurricane Agnes in 1972 and Katrina and Ike in more recent memory.
I like to bicycle in the Lambs creek area which is ordinarily a beautiful spot, but is also provides our communities of the Northern Tier with practical help. It may be a recreation area, but its primary purpose is flood control and water retention. Sometimes after a storm I have gone to cycle after the waters have receded, to note how far the water line was above my head.
My point is that but for the grace of God, it could have been you and I affected by this storm more directly than a day or so of heavy rain, a leaky bit of flashing in our parish kitchen and the usual 6 inches of water in my cellar. If it is in your heart to give to the relief of our neighbors, we may do so via Episcopal Relief and Development—you may put your donation in this week’s offering plate, clearly marked and we will forward it to the assistance and relief of those in need.