NICHOLSON, WYOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — As part of the Wyoming Valley picked up the pieces on Thursday from ice-jam flooding, a similar scene played out more than 20 miles north. Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller checked out the progress in Nicholson.
A gushing sound Thursday afternoon came from a fire hose used by crews to pump out eight feet of water from the basement of Robert Andrewsh’s Oak Street home. “They did a great job getting everything out of here – most of the water – so now that I can start hopefully get things situated.”
Flood water knocked out his heating system while outside his home huge chunks of ice litter his lawn. “It’s just devastating,” said Mr. Andrewsh.
Across the street, Dawn Bell assessed the damage in her flooded basement. Just one day after telling Eyewitness News she’d deal with it and would be okay, her sump pump conked out during the night. “This morning about 5:30, I went down the cellar and I had a couple feet of water in my basement.”
The flood water in this neighborhood is the result of ice jams along Martins and Tunkhannock Creek. For the second day in a row, Wyoming County officials used an excavator with an extended arm to break-up ice in the creek bed and push as much of it as possible downstream. While not calling it a race against time, Wyoming County EMA Director Gene Dziak knows this community is on the clock. “We’d really like to get this cleared out before we get into the warm weather.”
Even though work on the creeks will continue into Friday, the effort managed to move enough ice that by late Thursday afternoon Mr. Dziak believed the community is safe. “We are gaining… big time. We are gaining big time,” he said.
The stretch of land where crews are unjamming the ice was once populated by homes. But because of previous flooding, it is now green space. Existing homeowners dealing with this latest flood expressed some hopefulness in the face of adversity. “We have a ways to go. It worries me but we’ll make it,” said Ms. Bell.