City Island closes as Harrisburg preps for flood

Written by Brett Sholtis/WITF News | Jul 25, 2018 7:04 PM

Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse, right, speaks to reporters Wednesday, July 25. Papenfuse has closed City Island in anticipation of floodwaters expected to rise about 20 feet above the Susquehanna River's banks. (Brett Sholtis/WITF News)

(Harrisburg) -- City Island is closed for the day as Harrisburg officials expect flooding in parts of the city. 

City Island is a recreational area that includes the home field for minor league baseball's Harrisburg Senators. Parking lots and access roads on the island are likely to flood, said Mayor Eric Papenfuse. 

Fire fighters and police are preparing for water to rise 20 feet above the Susquehanna River's banks, said Fire Chief Brian Enterline. That number is based on hydrological reports from Mid-Atlantic Weather and could change.

"Our entire boat fleet is ready to go in the event that we have to start rescuing folks in case things go higher than that 20 foot crest," he said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.


Tree-sized debris floats down the Susquehanna River Wednesday July 25. City officials say to stay away from rivers and streams during the flood because their banks may be eroded. (Brett Sholtis/WITF News)

The city has checked in with residents in flood-prone parts of the city like Shipoke and Green Street Uptown, Enterline said. The city hasn't seen mandatory evacuations since Hurricane Lee hit in 2011, but they're prepping residents for the possibility of evacuations.

The fire chief urged people to stay away from the river, noting that floodwaters can erode riverbanks, turning what appears to be solid ground into a hazard.

Once the city is sure the flooding is under control, it may devote some resources to nearby communities outside the city that are flooded, he said.

Published in Harrisburg, News

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