The torrential rains last week in central PA have caused a number of problems. Monday night, the representatives to the Centre Region Council of Governments voted unanimously to declare a local disaster because of the flooding in parts of Halfmoon, Patton, and Ferguson Townships. But the damage up and down the Bald Eagle Valley and into adjacent counties may reach state and federal disaster status. According to Centre County Commission Mark Higgins approximately 200 houses along Bald Eagle Creek have been seriously flooded, Milesburg is extensively damaged, the Julian and Unionville Pikes may be inaccessible for weeks or months, and banks around bridges have been seriously eroded. Elsewhere, as you know, 55,000 gallons of gasoline entered the Loyalsock Creek and bridges have collapsed (see these pictures and cataloging).
I hope you’ll do two things this week. First, if you’re able, please donate money, time or materials to the clean-up and restoration efforts local charities are putting together with the counties and local governments. Our neighbors need our help. Centre County government has posted this document to help our neighbors. To report flood damage in Centre County please call 814-355-6745
milesburg flood camper.PNG – https://t.co/sQUDDMbk6j
— peter d buckland (@pdbuckland) October 27, 2016
Second, this October storm is no longer an oddity. The record heat this fall loads the dice for these fall storms now. Rising temperatures caused by emissions from our fossil-fuel-based economy holds more moisture. More moisture leads to heavier storms. While no single weather event is attributable to climate change, their amplification is. The short? Heavier downpours like this have increased 71% in recent decades and are projected to increase in intensity, damaging homes and roads, wreaking havoc on stream banks, causing drinking water problems, mudslides, and damaging ecosystems on which we rely.
This storm and others like it are a call for us to mitigate and adapt. It’s climate change coming home.
So let’s get together and help our neighbors by donating time, materials or money to one of these organizations and then by working together to plan for these new realities.