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Open floodgates may force Port Deposit residents to evacuate

Posted at 5:29 PM, Jul 25, 2018

Rising river waters may force Port Deposit’s mayor to evacuate town. The heavy rain is opening floodgates at the Conowingo Dam, just north of the city.

The waters flanking the city are creeping onto parts of the city’s roadways.

The rushing Susquehanna River rising as the floodgates open one by one.

“I’m worried for the people around here, man. It might flood. They’re already talking about evacuating. So yeah, dude, this place is going to flood,” Jonathon Cassidy said.

He was on his way to check out his future apartment and heard about his nearby hangout possibly being underwater.

“I usually fish, crab. When it’s like this, it’s no use. It’s too brown, the fish can’t see. It’s just a waste of time,” Cassidy said.

For most of town, the river rise is part of life in Port Deposit, yet Mayor Wayne Tome says the Susquehanna hasn’t been this high since 2011.

“Usually spring thaws are a time that we have to watch and then any hurricanes, or tropical storms, that they get up in upstate Pennsylvania or New York because the Susquehanna River basin covers half the Pennsylvania which drains into the river,” Tome said.

Tome, who moonlights as the EMS chief for the Water Witch Volunteer Fire Company, says if anywhere between 22 and 24 floodgates open, the city will have to take precautionary measures for safety.

“We now have flood forecasting. People can have forewarning to get vehicles out, to get things up from first and second floors that may be inundated so that they can save property,” Tome said.

As the rain moves in from the north, those in Port Deposit, including its newest resident will be waiting and watching.

“I don’t know how people can live over there with the water like this. This is ridiculous. I don’t know why they open up the gates like that,” Cassidy said.

Mayor Tome says at a certain level the city will have to consider a voluntary evacuation and make sure enough people are able to get out in time and the city can actually have time to turn off electricity in town.