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Environment & Science

Record-setting rain is over, but some schools are closed as water rescues and flooding continue in the Lehigh Valley

Water rescue Lower Macungie
Lower Macungie Fire Dept.
This photo was shared by the Lower Macungie Fire Department on its Facebook page early Wednesday. "As we have been doing water rescues throughout the night, we have been putting traffic cones on the hood or roof of the vehicles we come across," the post said.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — The rain has pulled away from the Lehigh Valley and the worst of the winds — which were much lighter than forecast — have passed.

In short, the storm is mostly over.

An outage map showed about 1,000 PPL customers without power early Wednesday, while First Energy’s StormCenter, tracking Met-Ed customers, had about 500 outages in the area.

But county dispatchers reported no significant damage or incidents overnight.

“We have been putting traffic cones on the hood or roof of the vehicles we come across. If you see a traffic cone on the hood or roof of a vehicle, the vehicle has already been checked and cleared by the LMFD.”
Lower Macungie Fire Department on Facebook

Lehigh County had a water rescue dispatched in Upper Milford Township after 8 p.m. Tuesday, dispatchers said, but the driver was rescued without incident.

Early Wednesday, Lower Macungie Fire Department said on Facebook it responded to water rescues throughout the night.

“We have been putting traffic cones on the hood or roof of the vehicles we come across,” the post said.

“If you see a traffic cone on the hood or roof of a vehicle, the vehicle has already been checked and cleared by the LMFD.”

Firefighters said vehicles would not be towed until the water recedes, so they will sit where they stopped in areas covered by the department, including Lower Macungie Township, Alburtis and Macungie.

Elsewhere, flooding, road closures

Elsewhere, flooding and road closures were reported throughout the area.

In Lower Saucon Township, Seidersville Road was closed between Route 378 and Hickory Hill Road because of a tree down in the roadway, township police reported.

In Coopersburg, the state Transportation Department reported Route 309 was flooded in the areas of Hilltop Road, Springfield Street and Zion Hill Road.

Flooding also was reported on Cetronia Road in Upper Macungie in multiple places, including at Grange Road and eastbound between Lone Lane and Steeplechase Lane.

Those were just a few of the road closures across the area in spots that have experienced flooding during previous heavy rainstorms.

In Allentown, Union Terrace Elementary School was moved to an Emergency Remote Learning Day because of flooding, while all other schools were scheduled to open on time, the district said on social media.

East Penn and Parkland school districts also were closed because of road conditions and local flooding.

Record rainfall, again

The Lehigh Valley set another daily rainfall record Tuesday, with 2.20 inches at the airport. That easily topped the 1.27 inches record for the date set in 1964.

Here are other reported rainfall totals throughout the region from the National Weather Service:

Lehigh County

Center Valley 2.80 inches

Lynn Twp 2.77 inches

Trexler 2.67 inches

Fogelsville 2.35 inches

Bethlehem 2.35 inches

LVIA 2.20 inches (data incomplete for storm duration)

Slatington 2.34 inches

Breinigsville 2.29 inches

New Tripoli 2.27 inches

New Tripoli 2.14 inches

Slatington 2.09 inches

Macungie 2.03 inches

Northampton County

Walnutport 2.49 inches

Easton 2.35 inches

Martins Creek 2.34 inches

Eastlawn Gardens 2.25 inches

Northampton (Middle School) 2.10 inches

Wind advisory, flood warnings continue

Monocacy Creek flooding
Stephanie Sigafoos
The Monocacy Creek spilled over early Wednesday in Bethlehem.

A wind advisory will remain in effect until 6 p.m. Wednesday.

The weather service said west winds of 20 to 25 mph, with gusts up to 45 mph, are expected for Delaware, northeast Maryland, most of New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania.

Tree limbs and weakened trees could be blown down and some additional power outages may result, the advisory said.

Additionally, flood warnings continued for rivers, creeks and streams in the area.

The Little Lehigh in Allentown and the Monocacy Creek in Bethlehem both were above flood stage, according to the weather service.

The Lehigh River at Walnutport also was expected to rise to a crest of 8.5 feet, above flood stage of 8 feet. The crest compares to a previous crest of 8.8 feet on Sept. 9, 2011.